Unified command established after fishing vessel runs aground near Santa Cruz

The 56-foot commercial fishing vessel, Pacific Quest, is pictured on the rocks near Natural Bridges State Beach, Calif., Aug. 12, 2018, after running aground early Sunday morning. The vessel captain and his dog were on the vessel when it grounded, but they were able to walk to shore during low tide with no injuries. (Photo courtesy of Eric Laughlin, California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Office of Spill Prevention and Response/released)

The 56-foot commercial fishing vessel, Pacific Quest, is pictured on the rocks near Natural Bridges State Beach, Calif., Aug. 12, 2018.  (Photo courtesy of Eric Laughlin, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response/released)

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), Monterey County, Santa Cruz Fire Department and a representative of the vessel owners have established a unified command in response to a 56-foot commercial fishing vessel that ran aground with a maximum potential capacity of 1,200 gallons of diesel aboard near Natural Bridges State Park, Sunday morning.

The captain of the fishing vessel, Pacific Quest, contacted Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, reporting that his vessel ran aground with only himself and his dog aboard.

The captain and his dog were able to walk ashore at low tide with no reported injuries.

The mariner contracted Tow Boat US to try to refloat the vessel and transport it to Santa Cruz Harbor, but when personnel arrived on scene at approximately 11:20 a.m., they determined the vessel salvage operation to be unsafe due to multiple compartments being filled with seawater.

Since the vessel is only accessible at low tide, Tow Boat US responders returned to the Pacific Quest at approximately 5:30 p.m. and secured the fuel vents to prevent fuel from being discharged.

Parker Diving and Salvage has been contracted to conduct fuel removal. The company is scheduled to begin those efforts Monday.

“The Coast Guard and other federal, state and local agencies have established a unified command to ensure a safe and rapid response to the Pacific Quest grounding,” said Coast Guard Ensign Kelly Hodges, the federal on-scene coordinator representative for the unified command. “We are working diligently with our partners to minimize impacts to the public and the environment.”

The vessel is located near Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

There have been no reports of impacted wildlife.


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