On April 20, the 30 meter long tugboat Powhatan sank at its berth in Starrigavan Bay near Sitka, Alaska. The Powhatan initially sank in 15 meters of water, but later the tugboat slid further underwater and now rests in 60 meters of water. No reports of injuries, but some oil pollution was released.
Reports state the vessel had some 325 gallons of lube oil and 12 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time of the sinking. The Coast Guard and local authorities were alerted and responded to the scene. Booms were placed on the surface to contain the pollution. An underwater camera will be deployed to monitor the vessel for any further release of pollution.
There are no reports if the vessel will be salvaged or not.
On March 1, the 31 meter long tugboat Ocean Eagle ran aground on Mariposa Reef near Sitka, Alaska. The Ocean Eagle has proceeding through the Sumner Strait with a barge loaded with containers when it ran hard aground on a reef. The Coast Guard received a report the Ocean Eagle grounding and the tug had suffered water ingress in the engine room.
A Jayhawk Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched from Sitka and hoisted all five crew off the Ocean Eagle. No reports of injuries. Two Coast Guard cutters along with two tugs arrived on scene on March 2 to assist in salvage operations. A small sheen was spotted around the Ocean Eagle. The master of the Ocean Eagle stated the sheen was limited to a small amount of diesel fuel released from the tug’s day tank.
The following day, divers inspected the hull for damage. Tugs completed dewatering the Ocean Eagle and was refloated. The barge remained aground as a section was almost up on the shoreline. Reports state the barge and tugboat had some 110,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time. The Ocean Eagle is to be towed to Ketchikan and the barge is to be refloated and towed to Sitka.
On February 16, the 30 meter long tugboat Samson Mariner and 322 foot long barge Saint Elias off Gravina Island on Rosa Reef near Ketchikan, Alaska. The vessels were proceeding to Valdez via the Inside Passage in calm seas when the vessels ran aground on the northeast end of Gravina Island. The Samson Mariner sustained hull damage with a 2 inch gash in the hull rupturing the port fuel tank. Some 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel was released into the water before the crew was able to plug the leak. Authorities were alerted and arrived on scene placing a containment boom around the tug. The Samson Mariner and the Saint Elias were later refloated and towed to Ward Cove.
Reports state there were no injuries and no damage to the Saint Elias which had some 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time of the incident. The Coast Guard and Alaskan authorities continued to monitor the situation while contractors attempt to recover the released fuel using booms and absorbent pads. The cause of the grounding was not reported. The Saint Elias had run aground before in 2011 off the San Juan Islands, Washington.