AMHS ferry breaks from mooring, grounds near Metlakatla
February 02, 2009
The freight barge Cape Muzon and tug Ethan B pulled the vessel off the rocks at about 2:10 p.m. Friday, half an hour before high tide. After the vessel refloated, divers immediately conducted a survey of the vessel's hull and found no breaches. Both vessels towed the Lituya to Alaska Ship and Dry Dock in Ketchikan for repairs.
Photograph by Sol Guthrie ©2009
A Metlakatla Police Department officer conducting a routine patrol sometime after midnight Friday morning noticed that the 181-foot ferry was no longer at its berth. It had drifted aground on the east side of Scrub Island, approximately 1,200 yards from the Metlakatla ferry terminal. There were no passengers, crew, pets or vehicles aboard.
A team of marine inspectors from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan performed a damage assessment earlier Friday while the tide was out. The vessel's stern was hard aground on Scrub Island, and the vessel listed up to fifteen degrees to starboard. The inspectors found some damage to a keel cooler and the port stabilizer fin.
A small amount of fuel spilled into the water early Friday morning when the vessel began to list as the tide dropped. Subsequently, the Lituya's Master and Chief Engineer were able to board the vessel and cap the vents to prevent further leakage. Southeast Alaska Petroleum Resource Organization (SEAPRO) deployed containment boom around the existing sheen. The fuel has since dissipated.
Photograph by Steve Shrum ©2009
In addition to the Cape Muzon and the Ethan B., numerous vessels converged on scene to assist. These included a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Ketchikan, the Coast Guard Cutter Anthony Petit (also from Ketchikan), a response barge owned by SEAPRO, the Metlakatla-based fishing vessel Homeward Bound (which transported the Lituya's captain and chief engineer to the scene), and a vessel operated by the Metlakatla Police Department. A helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka flew over the area this morning.
The ferry is the smallest in the AMHS fleet, providing twice-daily service between Ketchikan and Metlakatla.
Displaced Lituya travelers
can contact the AMHS Juneau Central Reservations Office at (907)
465-3941 or (800) 642-0066. Additionally, updated sailing information
may be found at the AMHS website at www.ferryalaska.com.
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