An 81-foot tug boat owned by Samson Tug and Barge Company sank at a Sitka pier Wednesday night. The 81-foot tug Powhatan had been out of service for ten years and no crew was reported injured in the incident. The major concern is potential pollution to the environment. Samson has indicated that although the vessel had a 20,000 gallon fuel capacity, all but one of the vessel’s tanks had been previously drained. However, the forward tank reportedly contained approximately 2,500 gallons of fuel.
After sinking the tug was described as sliding under the pier and resting on an underwater ledge. Some signs of diesel and oil leakage have been noted. An oil boom has been put in place. The Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are responding to the accident. Samson is developing a salvage plan for the raising of the vessel and to minimize environmental damage. Weather conditions were mild with 11 mile per hour winds and 2 foot seas. What caused the tug’s sinking is unknown and under investigation.
In other Northwest maritime news three passengers from a pleasure boat were rescued from their vessel after going aground at Boulder Island in the San Juan Islands. The Coast Guard airlifted the passengers from their vessel, it is not known whether there were any injuries.