Skipper sentenced for 2008 grounding

Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2009

JUNEAU - A skipper who ran his fishing boat aground after putting it on autopilot and leaving the wheelhouse was sentenced last week for driving recklessly, and the company that owns the boat was fined for polluting state waters.

Capt. Jacob Barnett ran the Westward aground on Feb. 17, 2008, near Point Ildefonso off Prince of Wales Island. The impact punctured both sides of the hull, putting a 4-by-10-foot hole in the port side and a 2-by-3-foot hole in the starboard side.

It's not known how much diesel or oil leaked out, but witnesses saw a long sheen in the area. Spill responders removed most of the oil that was on board.

A state superior court judge in Sitka sentenced Barnett to five days in jail or 40 hours of community service. Barnett is subject to an additional 30 days if he violates probation. F/V Westward LLC was fined $3,500 and is subject to another $21,500 in fines if it violates probation.

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