JUNEAU, Alaska — Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak personnel are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in response to the sinking of the FWS research vessel Arluk in St. Herman's Harbor, Kodiak, Friday.
The 63’ vessel is generally used for transporting wildlife observers watching seabirds and for transporting researchers to remote camps, according to the Coast Guard. There is no report yet on what caused the sinking. However, in the fall, the FWS solicited repairs for the vessel. Items to be repaired included plywood compromised by moisture and repairs to the bridge. Storage and moorage of the vessel were to be the responsibility of the contractor until March 1, 2013.
Lazy Bay LLC personnel, under contract by the FWS, plugged openings in the sunken vessel and are working to refloat it, according to a press release.
The Kodiak Harbormaster discovered the sunken vessel at 3:30 a.m., and deployed containment boom around the Arluk to minimize pollution - MSD Kodiak personnel arrived on-scene at 3:50 a.m.
"We are working with federal and local partners to quickly respond to the situation and minimize any impact from the sinking," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Ben Stixrud, a pollution investigator with MSD Kodiak, in a statement. "Protecting Alaska's pristine maritime environment is a priority for the Coast Guardsmen who work and live here."
The vessel was reported to have approximately 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel onboard at the time of the sinking.
In another Alaskan incident over the weekend, a 42’ recreational vehicle, the Revindell II, sank while in the Valdez, Alaska, Small Boat Harbor. The boat had more than 400 gallons of diesel on board at the time. You can see Petty Officer 1st Class Krispin Barrett’s photo of the event here: