The Canadian Coast Guard says a sunken fish boat in U.S. water near San Juan Island, roughly 25 kilometres east of Victoria, has been successfully lifted to the surface after leaking oil.
In an update posted to Twitter on Friday, the Canadian Coast Guard says the 15-metre Aleutian Isle, which sank on Aug. 13, was successfully removed from the water by the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest.
A good samaritan rescued all five crew members who were on board the vessel the day it sank, with reports it started taking on water around 2 p.m. The cause of the sinking wasn’t immediately known.
Last month, U.S. officials said the vessel was loaded with about 10,000 litres of diesel and oil and was some 60 metres below the surface, presenting a challenege for dive teams and sparking environmental concerns.
That’s because, following the incident, an oil sheen estimated to be several kilometres long covered waters west of San Juan Island.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which help track the trajectory of potential spills, worked with coast guard crews to ensure local marine life didn’t come close to the scene.
The stretch of Haro Strait where the vessel sank is a protected area considered critical habitat for Southern Resident Killer Whales. At one point, pods were spotted just 50 km away but were said to be moving in the opposite direction.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a sheen was visible when crews lifted the vessel to the surface, but booms were in place, and pollution mitigation strategies have proved effective.
“On the Canadian side, we and our response partners were ready to respond if there had been a release of fuel, but are happy to report that there was no impact to Canadian waters or shorelines during the salvage operation,” the Canadian Coast Guard added.
1/3 #CCGLive: FINAL UPDATE – MV Aleutian Isle sunk in Washington State: #BravoZulu to our response partners @USCGPacificNW and the incident management team who have successfully removed the vessel from the water. pic.twitter.com/oWapRMMmdA
— Canadian Coast Guard (@CoastGuardCAN) September 23, 2022
With files from The Canadian Press
READ MORE FROM AUG. 27: Efforts to remove sunken vessel near Victoria are difficult due to conditions: U.S. Coast Guard