Deck Watch: Coast Guard encourages owners to prepare vessels for winter in Alaska

In this week’s Deck Watch, Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Harris, a marine science technician at Sector Juneau, explains the dangers of snow loading on vessels moored at marinas and small boat harbors throughout Alaska, and the preventative measures boat owners can take to prevent losses. To listen to the interview, click here.

In other Coast Guard news:

Nov. 9 – The Unified Command consisting of the Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and communities of Gambell and Savoonga continues to investigate the reports of oiled wildlife on the coast of St. Lawrence Island, Friday. The Coast Guard, ADEC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have deployed investigators to St. Lawrence, to work with local guides to conduct shoreline assessments. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from Air Station Kodiak with a pollution investigator aboard conducted an aerial survey of the waters around St. Lawrence Island Thursday but reported no sightings of maritime pollution. The Unified Command is partnering with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Department of the Interior, the University of Alaska Marine Advisory Program, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, and local tribal leadership to provide a joint response.

Nov. 13 – The Coast Guard rescued five crewmembers from the tug Polar Wind which ran aground and began taking on water 20 miles east of Cold Bay at 8:58 p.m. Tuesday. A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, deployed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Sherman, arrived on scene at 2:14 a.m. Wednesday, and safely hoisted three of the five crewmembers from the 78-foot vessel and transported them to Cold Bay. The Dolphin helicopter crew left their Coast Guard rescue swimmer with the remaining two crewmembers and an Air Station HC-130 Hercules airplane remained overhead to monitor the situation. An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak arrived on scene and hoisted the two remaining crewmembers and the rescue swimmer and transported them safely to Cold Bay. The Polar Wind is reported to have approximately 18,500 gallons of fuel on board and the barge is reportedly carrying approximately 5,000 gallons of fuel and 90 refrigerated cargo containers. The Coast Guard is working with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the owner of the tug and barge, Northland Services, to respond to the situation. A unified command has been stood up to respond to the situation. Northland Services has hired Global Diving and Salvage to develop a plan to salvage the tug and barge, and Alaska Chadux to respond to any pollution issues. The weather at the time of the grounding was 6 to 8-foot seas and 40 mph winds.

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