Joint response to sunken offshore supply vessel Monarch continues

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Coast Guard Cutter Hickory and the motor vessel Champion searched for the sunken offshore supply vessel Monarch near the Granite Point oil platform, 16 miles from Nikiski today.

The 157-foot motor vessel Champion and the 225-foot Coast Guard Cutter Hickory conducted sonar scans in the vicinity of the platform to determine the location of the Monarch. They will resume operations at first light along with the tug Vigilant.

A light intermittent sheen was reported by personnel at the Granite Point platform. However, during an overflight of the area at 10 a.m. today Unified Command members did not see any sheen. An afternoon overflight was cancelled due to inclement weather conditions.

“The Coast Guard is working diligently with the owner of the vessel to minimize any impacts of any additional release of diesel into Cook Inlet,” said Capt. Mark Hamilton, Federal On Scene Coordinator and commander Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “While this recent sheen is unrecoverable the Coast Guard considers any release of oil into the environment serious.”

Weather conditions in the area are winds in excess of 40 mph from the southeast, seas in ice-free waters are predicted at 10 feet, with rain showers.

The cause of the sinking remains under investigation by the Coast Guard, as interviews with the crew continue.

The Unified Command is working to assess the vessel status and once located will develop an appropriate salvage plan.

“This is a very dynamic environment given the ice conditions and swift currents of the inlet,” said Hamilton. “Our primary goals are safety of our responders and protection of the environment and infrastructure.”

The Coast Guard received a report from the Monarch at 5:51 a.m. Thursday that they were taking on water. The crew evacuated to the platform. The tug Vigilant was dispatched to the scene from Nikiski but was unable to hook up a tow to the vessel. Shortly after noon Thursday the Unified Command received a report from the personnel on the platform that the vessel had sunk completely.

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