Sunken Vessels Lifted, Removed from Jakalof Bay

The F/V Kupreanof and F/V Leading Lady had been submerged since Christmas (Coast Guard photo)
The F/V Kupreanof and F/V Leading Lady had been submerged since Christmas (Coast Guard photo)

A pair of commercial fishing vessels that sank in Jakalof Bay on Christmas Eve have been removed and transported to the Homer harbor.

The vessels F/V Kupreanof and F/V Leading Lady were safely refloated last weekend by a team of experts, including people from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Homer and Seldovia Harbormaster’s offices, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Global Diving and Salvage.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Alexander says the operation took four days, beginning on Friday, January 18th. He says lift bags and a crane were used to lift both vessels, which were then de-watered and transported to the Homer harbor.

Alexander says both vessels are awaiting a higher tide so that they can be lifted up out of the water. He says he does not know if either or both vessels are a total loss but says the damage to both is extensive.

No one is sure what caused the vessels to sink but heavy snowload is suspected. More than 48 inches of snow fell in the area during a large storm that moved through Southcentral Alaska December 24th and 25th.

The 53-foot Leading Lady sank down about 40 feet and was laying on its side on the sea floor. The other vessel – the F/V Kupreanof – was directly on top, with its bow buried into the Leading Lady. The sinkings occurred in the middle of a sensitive area on the fringes of Kachemak Bay, used for oyster farming.

During the recovery operation, five hundred feet of containment boom was deployed around the vessels to mitigate any further pollution. Alexander says twelve containers of various sizes containing oil products were collected from the vessels and will be properly disposed of by response crews.

Alexander says the clean-up is complete and as far as the Coast Guard is concerned, there is no longer a pollution threat at the sinking site in Jakalof Bay.

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