SAN JUAN COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT MEDIA RELEASE As many San Juan County residents are aware, yesterday's sinking of a 49 foot fishing boat off of the West side of San Juan Island has required an ongoing pollution response.
Sunday evening, approximately 30 hours after the sinking of the fishing boat, a boom was set to keep the oil/diesel out of the bay at San Juan County Park. An offer by an experienced private citizen to set a boom during low tide had been rebuffed 14 hours earlier. Photo by David Blackshaw
U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest and Washington Department of Ecology are lead agencies for the operation, including sharing of information with public, but given the obvious concern of the local community, we want to pass on our sense of things. Below is a summary of what is known, along with a little local knowledge/interpretation thrown in. All members of the crew of the boat were rescued safely.
There is the potential of there being approximately 2600 gallons of diesel fuel on board. Depth of water and location make it a very difficult location for booming to contain the fuel that is leaking from the vessel. At this time it is not known if the vessel and fuel tanks are intact, but it is suspected that the vessel remained intact as it sank.
Coast Guard and Islands' Oil Spill Association (IOSA) personnel have been on scene since last night, monitoring for recoverable fuel product.
Coast Guard surveys via boat, drone, and helicopter report significant patches of rainbow sheen on the west side of San Juan Island, however quantities being seen do not appear to be recoverable at this time. There are areas where the smell of diesel fuel is noticeable. While there is not danger to the public at this time due to fumes or product in the water, it is suggested that boaters steer clear of the waters right along the shore on the west side of San Juan Island at this time.
-Small boats are on scene with absorbent material to try to soak up any fuel that can be recovered. Note due to the volatility of the fuel, recovering diesel is difficult, especially on a day with large tidal exchange like today.
-IOSA has staged equipment on shore near the response in order to replace depleted supplies as needed.
-The Coast Guard has authorized and activated a large salvage operation led by Global Diving & Salvage, Inc.. They should be on scene later today with barges, fuel storage, and personnel. Once the scene and vessel have been secured, specialized divers will assess the sunken vessel and the potential for removing remaining fuel from the boat.
-A large group of agencies and non-profits including The Whale Museum, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and others have been monitoring the location of local marine mammals and are coordinating on the response should orcas approach the impacted area. While the southern resident orcas were close late yesterday, they were not seen in the impacted area, and appear to be far away from San Juan Island today.
-The situation will continue to be monitored closely and San Juan County will provide logistical support to the responding agencies as needed.
- Sept 22: Aleutian Isle no longer significant threat to environment in the San Juan Islands
- Sept. 21 Update: Aleutian Isle on barge, 40 days after sinking to 200-foot depth
- Sept. 20 Aleutian Isle Update: Vessel moved to shallower Mitchell Bay, dewatering and rerigging underway
- Update 10: Further Aleutian Isle lifting operations postponed due to weight
- Aleutian Isle successfully raised to surface; no whales in area
- Lifting of the Aleutian Isle underway
- UPDATE 9: Final preparations underway for lifting fishing vessel Aleutian Isle
- Sept. 12 Update: Aleutian Isle recovery efforts
- Sept 9 Update: Rigging Aleutian Isle for lift will take a few more days
- Sept. 4 Update Aleutian Isle: Wreck cleared of entanglements; rigging begun
- Sept. 2 Aleutian Isle Update: All valves and vents closed off by divers
- Sept. 1: Divers removing netting from wreck of Aleutian Isle
- Aleutian Isle lying on starboard side 200 ft down; TFR extended to Oct. 15
- Boaters asked to abide by safety zone restrictions near wreck site
- Aleutian Isle incident: Equipment on site, recovery will take 10 days once started
- U.S. and Canadian crews conduct transboundary whale deterrents drill
- August 25 Update: No sheen observed
- UPDATE #7: Efforts to bring sunken fishing boat up expected to begin Friday
- IOSA survey to gauge potential IOSA responder availability
- County Council met with response team last week; recording available
- Update 6: Specialized diving equipment will take a few days to arrive
- Coast Guard plans to remove entire FV Aleutian Isle from ocean floor
- 10 years ago, SeaDoc Society created a plan used today to keep orcas out of an oil spill
- Coast Guard Update 4: No marine, terrestrial, or airborne wildlife appear to have been affected
- Coast Guard Update 3: Depth of sunken boat increases difficulty for divers, ROV brought in, nets recovered
- Coast Guard Monday evening Update: Boat now in 200 ft of water
- Coast Guard, partner agencies respond to pollution incident after fishing vessel sinks off San Juan Island
- August 13: An "epic" encounter with J, K, and L pods
- Coast Guard Update: Divers on scene assessing possible defueling of sunken fishing boat
- Sunday evening update from Coast Guard about sunken fishing boat
- Opportunity lost
- Hotline to report sighting of oiled wildlife - 1-800-22-BIRDS.
- Coast Guard update on diesel/oil spill off of San Juan Island
- Diesel/oil spill off Sunset Point west side of San Juan Island