Fuel from sunken vessel removed

A diving and salvage company has removed “all accessible pollution sources and hazards” from a 96-foot tugboat that sank Sept. 12 in Gastineau Channel near the Juneau-Douglas Bridge.

Global Diving & Salvage and Southeast Alaska Lighterage was contracted for the job, and also replaced the containment boom Wednesday used to contain fluids that might have escaped, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard and Department of Environmental Conservation will continue monitoring for environmental impacts.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau dedicated $50,000 from its Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to manage the situation and mitigate any environmental damage.

“Our focus is on the safety of the mariners who use the waterways and the environment,” said Cmdr. Marc Burd, chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Juneau, in a prepared statement. “We are working with the 17th Coast Guard District and NOAA to conduct a detailed analysis of the channel where the vessel sank. Additionally, Sector Juneau will request to more formally mark the wreckage through local notice to mariners, ensuring vessels transiting the area steer clear.”

The owner of the 71-year-old vessel, the Challenger, has been asked to remove the tug and was reminded “of their financial responsibility for the incident,” stated the news release.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

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