Sunken Vessels Still Stuck in Jakalof Bay

Locals Report a Sheen of Fuel Around the Accident
Aaron Selbig


     A pair of commercial fishing vessels that sank in Jakalof Bay on Christmas Eve is still there.

     Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Alexander says the Coast Guard is still in a holding pattern, waiting for a plan of attack and the right equipment to get the F/V Leading Lady and the F/V Kupreanof out of the water.

     "We're getting plans together ... to hopefully get things mobilized this week," said Alexander.

     Global Diving and Salvage is the contractor tasked with putting together a plan to offload fuel and oil from the Leading Lady safely and then remove the vessels, which are lodged together on the sea floor in about 40 feet of water.

     Alexander says no one from the Coast Guard has been out to the scene in the last few days but local residents and officials with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are reporting a sheen of fuel on the surface of the water near the sunken vessels. Some Jakalof Bay residents – including those who work in the area’s oyster growing business – have reported that the sheen has grown to as large as 100-feet-by-100-feet.

     Anderson hesitated to give an estimate on when the remaining diesel fuel – estimated to be about 50 gallons – could be offloaded from the Leading Lady or when the vessels might be raised up out of the water.

     "Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of resources nearby," said Alexander. "Once we get everything in place ... it will probably be a multiple-day operation."

     Anderson says the likeliest option to raise the vessels would involve a large crane on a barge and the use of inflatable lift bags. The operation is a relatively simple one, says Anderson, and usually goes off without a hitch.

     It is suspected that heavy snow-load was the cause of the sinking.


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