July 13, 2006
Allen Marine is being required by the Coast Guard to submit a comprehensive safety plan, within the next 24 hours, to Coast Guard Sector Juneau. The plan must include a full safety stand-down for all operations personnel.
Coast Guard officials said the purpose of this stand-down will be to allow Allen Marine operators and senior management to discuss safety and procedural changes necessary to prevent future incidents.
The Coast Guard will be involved in these safety stand-downs which are planned for all three Allen Marine ports of operation - Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan.
The motor vessel Keel a 48 foot catamaran ran aground near Siginaka Islands in North Sitka Sound at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The Keel, owned by Allen Marine, sustained damage when it grounded with 16 passengers and three crewmen on board.
The Coast Guard cutter Maple crew responded to assist the passengers and crewmembers. The cutter Maple arrived nearby and dispatched two small boats at 9:58 a.m. to assist and oversee Allen Marines rescue operation in the shallow area where the Keel grounded. A HH-60 Helicopter was dispatched from Air Station Sitka at 9:39 a.m. and arrived on scene at 10:19 to assess the situation.
The passengers were taken aboard the motor vessel St. Anastasia, a second Allen Marine vessel, and returned to Sitka.
The Keel remains hard aground. Allen Marine reported to the Coast Guard that all fuel vents were plugged to prevent fuel from escaping should the fuel tanks become submerged. Allen Marine officials dispatched the motor vessel St. Rufina from Jamestown Bay to assist on scene. The St. Rufina is equipped with a deck mounted crane and other equipment which they intend to use to refloat the vessel.
Recent incidents involving Allen Marine vessels included the landing on May 19th of the St. Nicholas on a sandbar by Berners Bay in Juneau. The St. Nicholas had 93 passengers onboard, an oceanographic class from Juneau Douglas High School.
And on May 31st, Allen Marine Tours' M/V Kalinin Express was on a routine tour with passengers from the cruise ship Statendam when the 64-foot Kalinin Express collided with the shore just north of California Head in George Inlet south of Ketchikan.
The grounding of the Keel is under investigation by the Coast Guard.
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