CG investigates 2 grounded fishing vessels

Photo: Coast Guard
In this file photo, U.S. Coast Guard members conduct training. The USCG responded to calls from two grounded fishing vessels in Southeast early Wednesday morning.

The Coast Guard responded to calls from two grounded fishing vessels in Southeast early Wednesday morning.

Just after midnight on Wednesday, the crew of the Pacific Queen contacted the U.S. Coast Guard to report that they’d run aground near Long Island — south of Petersburg — and were experiencing uncontrollable flooding. The crew abandoned the 71-foot vessel and was later rescued by the crew of the Windham Bay. The three rescued crewmembers did not require medical attention.

The Pacific Queen — which had about 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board — sank and is unrecoverable, Coast Guard public affairs Petty Officer Jonathan Klingenberg said.

A light sheen in the area was reported after a Coast Guard flyover. Klingenberg said the crew’s quick action prevented injuries and further pollution.

“Even though they lost their boat, they were prepared for the worst case scenario,” Klingenberg said. “They were able to plug up the fuel vents to minimize pollution and had their EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon) operating.”

Klingenberg said the Pacific Queen is sunk at about 240 feet, too deep to be recovered. He said the Coast Guard is still investigating the cause of the accident.

Later that morning, around 4:30 a.m., the Coral Sea ran aground near Gourd Island, southwest of Ketchikan.

The five-person crew was forced to abandon ship. The crew of the Time Bandit rescued them. Klingenberg said that the 56-foot seiner was only partially sunk after the crew contacted the Coast Guard. By the time the Coast Guard did a flyover, the tide had come in and the Coral Sea was completely submerged.

“There were no reports of pollution with the Coral Sea,” Klingenberg said. “(The Coast Guard) is still going to do whatever it can to get it boomed off so that if there is any pollution, it is contained.”

Klingenberg said the cause of the Coral Sea’s accident is still under investigation. He said both vessels would continue to be monitored.

Contact reporter Jennifer Canfield at 523-2279 or at jennifer.n.canfield@juneauempire.com.

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