US Coast Guard Unified Command deploy survey & response inspection crews to the vessels aground on Ukolnoi Island, 40 miles east of Cold Bay.
The five-person crew of the tugbboat Polar Wind was rescued Nov. 13 after the tug ran aground and began taking on water, reportedly while they were attempting to recover the barge after their towline parted.
The fuel quantity aboard the Polar Wind is stated as more than 20,500 gallons of diesel and the barge is reportedly carrying 1,800 gallons of diesel and 90 refrigerated cargo containers, 30 of which contain frozen fish.
The crews will conduct dive surveys, assess the hull condition of the tug and use sonar to survey the area around the vessels. The crews will also tend to the boom around the tug, measure the amount of fuel onboard the tug and address any new pollution issues they encounter.
“Our first priority is to get the dive assessments completed to ensure the safety of all future operations in the area,” said Kerry Walsh, marine casualty project manager and salvage master, Global Diving and Salvage. “Today’s diving operations, tug assessment and area surveys will allow us to better refine our response plan to mitigate any potential environmental impacts and quickly salvage the vessels.”
The unified command is also staging crews and equipment in King Cove to respond once the area surveys are completed and weather conditions on scene improve.