Sunken fishing boat off San Juan Island no longer leaking visible diesel as divers work to recover fuel
After a fishing boat sank off the coast of San Juan Island Aug. 13, U.S. Coast Guard crews are now trying to figure out how to get the 49-foot commercial fishing vessel, and the hazardous materials on board, out of the water, but they are hopeful that the worst of the contamination is over.
They released an update Thursday, Sept. 1, of diving crews preparing to recover fuel tanks from the sunken vessel as they work to raise the ship, saying that there are no longer visible signs of diesel fuel slowly leaking.
The ship was carrying 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel stored in tanks on the sunken fishing boat, along with 100 gallons of hydraulic fluid and lubricant oil.
In order to recover the spilled fuel, the Coast Guard said divers had cut away the ship’s netting during the recovery
#Update #AleutianIsle (1/2) Photos from wreck site: Divers cut away netting from vessel to locate fuel vents and prevent vessel entanglement during the scheduled recovery operation. They also located 4 valves and secured them, including valves for waste oil and hydraulic fluid. pic.twitter.com/Whbe2Gp6BC
— USCGPacificNorthwest (@USCGPacificNW) September 2, 2022
Around 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, the Coast Guard Puget Sound Sector got a report that the ship, the Aleutian Isle, was taking on water near Sunset Point and was in need of emergency assistance.
Before they arrived, all five crew members aboard the vessel were rescued by a good Samaritan as the vessel sank.
The Coast Guard started a pollution survey and began response efforts and began to develop a plan to contain and recover diesel fuel in the water, remove potential pollutants from the sunken boat, and potentially salvage the wreckage.
Coast Guard officials are saying that the Aleutian Isle is currently 200 feet down underwater, laying on its side, and while it was reportedly leaking diesel fuel slowly when it first sank, the Coast Guard said that no visible sheen was observed Tuesday.
Crews have set up a 1,000-yard safety zone around the wreck to warn off other boats, and are also working on monitoring marine life to dissuade them from entering the potentially harmful area.