Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The Coast Guard assisted the Alaska Department of Natural Resources’ response to the disabled and abandoned fishing vessel Akutan near Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Thursday
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley assisted Alaska DNR by towing the Akutan to a scuttling site approximately three miles outside U.S. territorial seas where Resolve Marine personnel, contracted by the DNR, scuttled the vessel and conducted cleanup operations for debris in the water.
A small group of fishermen had planned to process up to 100,000 pounds of salmon per day for Bristol Bay Seafoods LLC but several things went wrong. The vessel broke down, the crew wasn't paid and the over 158,00 pounds of salmon on board, was ruled unfit for human or animal consumption.
In early January, the DNR requested Coast Guard assistance in towing the Akutan to a scuttling site consistent with the EPA regulations. The state initially took action on the abandoned vessel under state statute AS 30.30 because it posed an emergency to life, property and the environment as it sat derelict, exposed to Bering Sea weather conditions. The Coast Guard declared the vessel an emergency and rendered assistance to the state upon its request. “Following the fishing vessel Akutan’s arrival to Captains Bay in August, the Coast Guard coordinated with multiple agencies to remove environmental hazards from the vessel,” said Capt. Darran McLenon, 17th District chief of response. “Given the vessel’s condition and the tumultuous Bering Sea maritime environment this time of year, it was determined that the potential risks to life, property and the environment was an emergency situation for the state.”
The 166-foot fishing vessel Akutan became disabled in Captains Bay, Alaska, August 2017. Responders removed more than 33,000 gallons of oil-water mixture, 12,400 gallons of diesel and other oils, 5,326 lbs of liquid ammonia, 14 drums of oil-contaminated solid waste, eight heavy-duty batteries and two 100-pound chlorine cylinders. “It is very rare for the State of Alaska to take custody of derelict and abandoned vessels. Our goal is for the responsible parties to remove these vessels from our public lands. However, the Fishing vessel Akutan posed significant potential risks to the community of Unalaska, as demonstrated by the Coast Guard’s emergency declaration. We appreciate the efforts by the Coast Guard and the other state, federal and local agencies who worked with us in disposing of this vessel,” said State of Alaska DNR Commissioner Andy Mack.