Coast Guard, ADEC respond after 81-foot tug sinks at pier in Sitka, Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska - Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sitka and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation personnel are responding to a tug that sank at the Samson Tug and Barge Company pier on Wednesday night in Sitka.
Samson Tug and Barge Company has contracted Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization for oil recovery and Hanson Maritime to dive and survey the tug. Samson Tug and Barge Company is developing a salvage plan.
The sunken tug, Powhatan, is an 81-foot vessel owned by Samson Tug and Barge Company that had been out of service for over ten years. The tug's total fuel capacity is 20,000 gallons. Samson Tug and Barge Company reported only the forward fuel tank had been in use recently with a maximum capacity of 2,500 gallons and the other fuel tanks had previously been drained. The vessel sank at the pier on Wednesday evening and subsequently slid under the pier approximately 200 yards along an underwater ledge. Some residual diesel fuel and oil is leaking from the sunken vessel. SEAPRO has placed boom around the vessel to contain the leak. The cause of the sinking is still under investigation.
"Our top priority is to protect public health, safety, and limit environmental impact as we work with the contracted companies to contain and clean-up the spill," said Petty Officer 1st Class Ken Farah, federal on scene coordinator representative for the incident. "The Coast Guard and Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation are working together to guarantee an aggressive and effective response."
Weather on scene is partly cloudy, air temperature 56 degrees, East winds at 11 mph, 2 foot seas.