State Settles with Diving
Exploration Company Over Fate of Historic
Sunken Steamship SS Aleutian
December 06, 2005
Alaska Attorney General David Márquez announced Monday
that the state has settled a federal lawsuit with Shoreline Adventures,
LLC, involving the fate of the SS Aleutian, an 1898 steamship
that sank off the coast of Kodiak in 1929. The Aleutian sank
in 220 feet of water and lodged on the seafloor intact.
"I commend the efforts
of both parties to resolve this lawsuit in a responsible manner
that benefits the interests of Shoreline and the state,"
said Márquez. "This settlement will allow Shoreline
to conduct dives to this historical shipwreck while protecting
the vessel and its contents as an archaeological site and ensuring
that the environment will be protected and preserved."
Pursuant to the terms of the
settlement, the parties agreed that:
- Shoreline will not conduct
any expeditions to the S.S. ALEUTIAN directed at the recovery
of archaeological materials without first submitting a plan of
recovery for any artifacts to the state Office of History and
- When OHA approves a plan of
recovery it will issue an archaeological field permit to
Shoreline for a recovery operation
- Shoreline will be required
to prepare an assessment of environmental risk of an oil release
emanating from the S.S. ALEUTIAN prior to conducting any recovery
expeditions to the shipwreck site
- OHA shall use its best efforts
to facilitate the circulation of Shorelines' environmental assessment
and potential remediation to the state to facilitate Shoreline's
efforts to apply for any necessary permits and/or to show compliance
with applicable state and federal regulations
- In the event that Shoreline
elects not to conduct further archaeological recovery on the
S.S. ALEUTIAN site, Shoreline shall prepare a Final Report of
Archaeological Investigations on the S.S. ALEUTIAN and submit
it to OHA.
"Both the State of Alaska
and my client have worked diligently to resolve our competing
interests to share this remarkable find with the world,"
said Peter Hess, counsel for Shoreline Adventures, LLC. "I
believe this settlement protects an important aspect of Alaska's
past and allows my client to serve as a window to share that
past with the rest of the world."
This lawsuit began in 2003.
The agreement dismisses the current appeal in the Ninth Circuit
and allows the U.S. District Court to maintain jurisdiction over
the shipwreck to monitor the terms of this settlement.
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