The new plan to recover the sunken fishing tender Lone Star has been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel has been sitting in the middle of one of the major sockeye salmon producing rivers in Bristol Bay since late June.
To date all of the efforts to remove the 78-foot Lone Start from the middle of the Igushik River have been unsuccessful. Despite several attempts the vessel has remained stuck in the mud. That resulted in the responders deciding to stand down in mid-August and work up a new plan. That plan was submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard for approval last week and Petty Officer Shawn Eggert with Coast Guard Sector Anchorage confirms it has now been approved. He says the salvage company Resolve-Magone Marine Services is just waiting on a break in the weather to start mobilizing the necessary assets to the site of the Lone Star. Eggert says one of the new tools used in the upcoming salvage effort is foam that will be pumped into the aft section of the vessel to create some more buoyancy.
“They are also bringing in a barge to try a new lifting method, which will involve lifting one side of the Lone Star with chain pullers on a wench while lifting the other side with the crane.”
If the Lone Star can be made seaworthy the plan is to then tow the vessel to Unalaska. Eggert says, weather permitting, the plan is to begin the new recovery effort on September 20th.
“The whole operation will take approximately 8 days barring delays.”
At the time of the sinking of the Lone Star the crew reported that it was carrying over 13.7-thousand gallons of diesel fuel and several hundred gallons of other petroleum products. 7.2-thousand gallons of fuel oil and over 3.7-thousand gallons of oily water were removed from the fuel tanks onboard the Lone Star but it’s believed there is still fuel or other petroleum products onboard that couldn’t be recovered. Petty Officer Eggert says assets will be on scene to deal with a release of fuel during the recovery effort.
At the time of the sinking on June 30th the Lone Star was anchored near the mouth of the Igushik River buying sockeye from local fishermen in the Igushik Section of the Nushagak Commercial Fishing District. During a change in the tide the anchor chain apparently struck the vessel’s transducer resulting in a hull breach. It eventually capsized in about 18-feet of water. Fuel leaking from the vessel eventually resulted in a closure of the local commercial fishery in the area.