Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Salvage Operations Continue Near Kodiak for Grounded Fishing Vessel

Salvage efforts are continuing at Long Island, southeast of Kodiak, Alaska, for the Savannah Ray, an 81-foot steel-hulled fishing vessel that ran aground on Feb. 16 while returning to Kodiak with some 25,000 pounds of cod onboard.

Cause of the grounding is so far undetermined and is under investigation by the Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Global Diving and Salvage Inc. implemented an approved defueling plan on Feb. 23, removing an estimated 2,300 gallons of diesel fuel from the vessel’s three aft tanks, all of which were found to be intact. Coast Guard personnel conducted a shoreline assessment during defueling operations and said they observed no impact, but a minor sheen was observed in the vicinity of the Savannah Ray during defueling operations. The owner of the vessel estimated approximately 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 300 gallons of hydraulic oil, and 75 gallons of lube oil were onboard the vessel at the time of the grounding. An updated situation report on Feb. 24 said at least one tank containing fuel had been compromised, with about 200 gallons of diesel fuel estimated to have been in the compromised tank.

Officials said there have been no reports of fish or wildlife in the area being impacted. All five species of wild salmon are present in the area. Also among the fish and wildlife listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act that may be in the area are Steller sea lions, Northern sea otters, Steller’s eiders, humpback, North Pacific right and sperm whales. A harbor seal was observed near the defueling operation on Feb. 23, but swam off unaffected, the report said.

Officials said the ability to safely conduct pollution mitigation operations and the need for further pollution mitigation would be evaluated over the next two weeks as weather and tide conditions permit.

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