Grounded Fishing Vessel's Impact Assessed

MarineLink.com
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
The Japanese commercial fishing vessel Daiki Maru can be seen from Orote Point on U.S. Naval Base Guam. Sailors from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 conducted a search-and-rescue operation and rescued 10 fishermen from the sinking vessel that ran aground near Spanish Steps Feb. 13. The fishermen were transported to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam for evaluation and later released. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Matt Knight/Released)

The U.S. Navy, in partnership with other federal and local agencies, has deployed teams to assess and respond to potential environmental impacts due to the grounding of the Japanese commercial fishing vessel Daiki Maru in outer Apra Harbor Feb. 13.

Navy officials are taking all the necessary steps to address the situation and ensure the protection of the environment.

"It's our number one priority on the Navy base along with all the agencies we are partnering with," said Capt. Mike Ward, commanding officer of U.S. Naval Base Guam. "We've erected a unified command structure to respond to the incident. Our priority right now is to protect the environmentally sensitive area but we're also developing a salvage and tow plan to remove the vessel off the reef right so we can remove the hazard from the environment. We need to do that safely but as expeditiously as we can."

The Navy is working with the U.S. Coast Guard, Guam Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA, the responsible party and other organizations.

"As soon as we heard the news of the grounding, an environmental assessment team went out there to check for any possible damage that may have occurred to the reef or the sea turtles," said Anne Brooke, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas conservation program manager. "This is a joint effort by a host of agencies. We train for this kind of thing and are very proficient at this."

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