July 28, 2010
However, the hole in the main engine room could not be plugged and the flooding continued. At approximately 10 p.m. Monday with heavy rains, a rising tide, and unsuccessful attempts to dewater the vessel, MSU Valdez personnel on scene removed all salvage crews from the vessel for their safety.
U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Cutter Long Island.
Although the vessel's fuel tanks do not appear to have been breached or leaking, response crews have commenced exclusionary booming of the Main Bay Salmon Hatchery before lightering of fuel aboard the Cape Cross can begin.
"There is a light sheen surrounding the vessel from the bilge residue coming out of the engine room," said Lt. Cmdr. Erin Williams, alternate Captain of the Port of Prince William Sound. "The personnel on scene report that the diesel tanks do not appear to be leaking at this time."
Responders are assessing the stability of the Cape Cross through the tidal phases. Low tide is at 6:30 am Wednesday.
R & R Diving Company, hired by the Cape Cross's insurance company, reported to the scene at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and determined the vessel is salvageable and have installed boom to contain the sheening. During low tide, R and R Diving Company plans to install a temporary patch on the hull of the vessel. When the patch is secure, the Cape Cross will be repositioned to facilitate the lightering of all fuel onboard. Once all fuel is removed and the vessel is stable, efforts to remove the vessel from Main Bay may begin.
The owner hired Alaskan Marine Surveyor to assist with pollution response and salvage of the vessel. The marine surveyor is heading to Main Bay and was expected on scene Tuesday evening.
The current plan is to ensure that the Cape Cross and nearby hatchery are isolated by containment boom. Once on scene, salvage crews are scheduled to begin lightering all the fuel from the vessel, begin repairs and salvage the vessel. The vessel's condition and salvage plans will be monitored by Coast Guard personnel.
The vessel's master reported 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 300 gallons of lube oil, and 100 gallons of hydraulic oil, and an undetermined amount of gasoline on board. The Coast Guard hired the Ship Escort/Response Vessel System for pollution response under the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. SERVS has mobilized six response vessels to Main Bay which three are now on scene to assist.
The Coast Guard Cutter Long Island remains on scene to enforce the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's closure of the commercial fishery in Main Bay. A Coast Guard helicopter overflight is scheduled to take place Wednesday to gain a better perspective of the response and determine any environment impact to the bay.
The Coast Guard continues to investigate the cause of the grounding and is monitoring all phases of the response and salvage.
The Cape Cross was among four fishing vessels that went aground within three hours Monday. There were no reported injuries or pollution in any of the other incidents, which occurred in Southeast Alaska waters.
One of the boats sank. A crabbing vessel sustained a three-inch hole, but crew members refloated it with the tide and pumped water until reaching Ketchikan safely. The third vessel was undamaged and its crew returned to fishing.
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