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Ship aground on Puffin Island near Kodiak

Posted: June 10, 2012 - 12:09am

KODIAK — A U.S. Army Reserve vessel that ran aground in Chiniak Bay a few miles from Kodiak continued to leak fuel Saturday.

The Coast Guard said Saturday afternoon that two fuel compartments on the Monterrey had been damaged and were leaking an estimated 15,291 gallons of fuel into the water.

The Monterrey hit Humpback Rock around 10:15 p.m. Friday, and crew members purposely beached the vessel on Puffin Island to prevent it from sinking, the Coast Guard said.

Several local boats and the Coast Guard, which has a nearby base, responded after the ship began taking on water and sent out a mayday.

Earlier on Saturday, it was believed that only one tank had been damaged. The Monterrey had about 40,000 gallons of fuel on board.

“We’re aggressively working to stop the fuel tank and to contain what has leaked,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Grant DeVuyst said.

Two booms have been placed around the beached 174-foot landing craft, and a third boom is being set at the mouth of the Buskin River, an environmentally sensitive area, the Coast Guard said. Response teams are considering the use of skimming vessels to clear surface fuel.

“Our number one priority is to limit the impact of the leaked fuel,” Lt. Matthew Zinn, supervisor of the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Detachment Kodiak, said in a statement.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation reported earlier on Saturday that there had been no reports of wildlife affected by the fuel spill.

Two crew members with minor injuries were taken into Kodiak for medical treatment.

Army officials credited the fast action of the Coast Guard for containing the potential environmental damage.

“The U.S. Army Reserve is grateful for the prompt response of the Coast Guard and the many good Samaritans who ensured the safety and health of our soldiers,” said Maj. Annmarie Daneker, Army Reserve media relations officer, in a statement. “The safety of the crew and the protection of the local environment is our top priority.”

The Monterrey was in the Kodiak area to transport heavy construction equipment and supplies from Port Hueneme, Calif., to Bethel in support of the Marine Corps.

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