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Aerial footage of the Landing Craft Don Quixote in Shelikof Straits. Video-USCG
A 76-foot landing craft, the Don Quixote, traveling through Shelikof Straits on Tuesday began taking on water and the operator of the craft made the decision to intentionally ground the vessel just south of Cape Kuliuk.
The construction supplies-laden craft, with its crew of two, elected to put the vessel onto a an obstruction-free beach two miles to the south of the cape while contacting the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance.
In response, the USCG launched two MH-60 Jayhawks with de-watering pumps to assist in stemming the flooding while a C-130 Hercules responded with overflights.
An additional overflight on Wednesday observed a minor oil sheen in the vicinity of the vessel and the Coast Guard began working with contractors to mitigate the pollution threat.
“Our job is to ensure the potential for pollution in this situation is mitigated,” said Lt. James Nunez, incident management division chief for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “Protecting the environment is our top priority.”
The Don Quixote has a possible 2,000 gallons of diesel aboard.
The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund was opened by the Coast Guard and Global Diving and Salvage is due at the grounding site today to evaluate the seaworthiness of the vessel and work on an approved plan to mitigate the pollution threat, the Coast Guard revealed.
The cause of the flooding has yet to be revealed.