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Coast Guard responds to snow-related sinkings in Kodiak

KODIAK, Alaska — Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak personnel responded to the sinking of three local vessels in Kodiak's St. Paul Harbor Tuesday.

"Vessels sinking due to snow overload at the pier impact not only the owners but have an adverse impact on our local environment," said Cmdr. Adam Tyndale, chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. "In this instance, there was only minor pollution. In light of the recent winter storms, we would like to encourage all mariners to check their vessels and clean off any accumulated snowfall."

The Coast Guard was notified of the fishing vessel Peregrine sinking at approximately 9:30 a.m. by the Kodiak Harbormaster Office. A responding  crew from MSD Kodiak arrived on scene shortly thereafter to observe the 30-foot fishing vessel sunk at its moorings.

MSD Kodiak personnel estimate less than one gallon of oil was spilled into the harbor. The vessel was successfully refloated with help from the crew of the 35-foot fishing vessel Abby Jo later that afternoon. No further clean-up action was needed and the pollution investigation is complete. No injuries were reported.

The 31-foot pleasure craft Pay Dirt and the 40-foot house boat Kodiak Explorer also sank Tuesday. Both vessels were successfully refloated and no injuries or pollution was reported.

All three vessels sank due to the excessive accumulation of snow and inadequate snow removal. Problems occur when snow accrues on a vessel, negatively impacting its stability. Ice can also build up inside overboard discharges and on weather decks, contributing to flooding and inhibiting buoyancy.

Pollution caused by boats sinking could potentially result in fines up to $40,000 per day, per violation, in addition to salvage costs.

To prevent sinking of a vessel the Coast Guard recommends:

  • - Removal of snow and ice accumulation including keeping scuppers clear of blockage
  • - Checking the shaft packing for excess leakage.
  • - Performing routine checks for signs of loose or deteriorating planks on wooden hulled vessels.
  • - Conducting a routine inspection of your automatic bilge pump.
  • - Visually inspecting all thru-hull fittings for damage or loose connections.
  • - Removing all unnecessary fuel from your boat if you are planning to be away for an extended period of time.

For more information please contact Lt. Andrea Manuel at 907-271-2611.

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