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The Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation will oversee the lifting operation as Alaska Commercial Divers and Pacific Pile & Marine raise the Samson tug Powhatan, which sank at its berth at the dock in Starrigavan Bay near Sitka on April 19th.
In preparation of the raising of the tug, crews have placed rigging and lifting chain around the sunken vessel, and a heavy lifting crane barge is now on location after arriving last Saturday.
When the tug initially sank, it went down in approximately 11 fathoms of water, but slide further down to a depth of almost 200 feet. When it went down, some of its lube and diesel escaped into the water. It is unknown how much petroleum products were aboard. The vessel was undergoing dismantling at the time of its sinking.
Following its raising, which is scheduled for Sunday, the tug will be dewatered, and all hazardous material and oil will be removed prior to it traveling south to Seattle aboard the barge. The vessel will be disposed of after arriving in Seattle.
“Our top priorities are to protect public health and safety, and to limit environmental impacts,” said Capt. Shannan Greene, Federal On-scene Coordinator, Coast Guard Sector Juneau. “The Coast Guard remains committed to the safety of the operation and to ensuring the tug is recovered as efficiently as possible. Preventative measures are in place for pollution mitigation.”
There is a 400-yard “No Wake” Zone in place around the area of operations. Coast Guard Auxiliary members will patrol the area during the raising on Sunday for the safety of the public.