Salvage crews are working to contain any potential contaminants leaking from a 49-foot fishing vessel which sank Saturday of the coast of San Juan Island.
Divers had been in the water since 7 a.m. Monday morning, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Michael Clark, and crews were assessing what remained to be done at the wreck.
“The vessel sank in more than 100 feet of water,” Clark said. “Decompression chambers had to be brought on site. (Divers) are working throughout the day to evaluate the wreck.”
The Coast Guard first responded to a diesel spill off the west coast San Juan Island on Saturday after the vessel sank with an estimated 2,600 gallons of fuel on board. Most of the spill was made up of diesel fuel, Clark said, but other contaminants like motor oil and hydraulic fluid were leaking as well.
Absorbent booms were placed in the water Sunday, Clark said, with special priority given to ecologically sensitive areas. The Coast Guard was working with the Canadian Coast Guard Regional Operations Center, the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management, the state Department of Ecology and the non-profit Islands’ Oil Spill Association on Sunday to contain and recover the spill, Clark said.
A Good Samaritan rescued all five crew members on the Aleutian Isle as the vessel was sinking near Sunset Point, the Coast Guard’s 13th District Pacific Northwest district in Seattle reported.
The cause of the sinking wasn’t immediately known. The Aleutian Isle reported it was taking on water about 2 p.m. Saturday, the Coast Guard said.
Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound said personnel spotted an oil sheen about 1.5 miles in length about 5 p.m. Saturday, the district said.
Some of the sheen had entered nearby Canadian waters, The Associated Press reported Sunday.
The Coast Guard also said it was working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which was tracking the spill’s trajectory, and others to ensure Southern Resident Killer Whales near the San Juan Islands don’t come in contact with the spill.
San Juan Island is about 90 miles north of Seattle and 16 miles east of Victoria.
“We are working with government and industry partners to ensure an efficient and effective containment and recovery response,” Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Brian Dykens said in a statement.
“The local public, the environment and protected marine species are our top priority.”
Reporter Peter Segall contributed to this report.