The 150 foot long fishing-processing vessel Alaskan Leader suffered an engine room fire near the Unimak Pass in the Bering Sea. The Alaskan Leader was heading back to harbor after a six-week fishing trip with 9,000 pounds of frozen cod when a fire broke out in the electrical system. The fire spread through the vessel and the vessel soon lost lights and power. The master quickly alerted the Coast Guard of the situation while the 23 crew on board attempted to extinguish the fire. For several hours the crew fought the blaze until the master of the vessel order the men to prepare to abandon ship. Three other fishing vessels who heard the distress call from the Alaskan Leader reached the scene. They were able to provide enough light to allow the Alaskan Leader crew to finally extinguish the blaze. The Coast Guard cutter arrived on the scene and the Alaskan Leader was able to get its engine restarted. A tug arrived later to tow the Alaskan Leader back to Dutch Harbor. No reports of injuries. The Coast Guard will investigate the incident.
Over 800 tons of oil has been removed from the Rena as the salvage team completed pumping out the port number five tank. The remaining 600 tons are located in other four other tanks. The starboard number 5 tank is submerged will be much more difficult task. The salvage team needs to reach an underwater manhole access hatch in pitch black conditions with everything disoriented due to the heavy list. The team is trying to dam off the section and pump out the water around it to gain access. The starboard number 5 tank has 350 tons of oil to be removed. In addition, there are three other tanks in the engine room holding a combined 250 tons of oil still to go. Salvors are also attempting to pump out oil from the settling tanks. The remaining amount of oil in the settling tanks is not known but estimates place it under 100 tons.
The heavy crane vessel Pancaldo has arrived on scene and has removed some containers from the sea floor. The Pancaldo will begin salvage operations and removal of containers off the deck of the Rena when oil removal has completed. In addition, the vessel Brandy Wine is also being used in recovery of containers. The Brandy Wine has already remove containers from Motiti Island.
Reports state over 808 tons of waste has been collected so far by over 6,700 people. The cleanup effort has been split between cleaning up oil and the pollution resulting from the contents of the containers. Reports state the cleanup process will continue as several beaches that get re-oiled and re-cleaned daily. Officials have ended the need for volunteers to register to help with cleanup efforts. They have requested that volunteers to just turn up. More than 1300 oiled birds have died with another 885 being treated at wildlife facilities. Officials have added six enclosures specialized for penguins. Currently, there are over 300 penguins being housed at Te Maunga.