The Coast Guard assisted salvors Tuesday in successfully recovering the 112-foot fishing vessel Mar-Gun from Staraya Beach on the north end of St. George Island in the Bering Sea.
The vessel is currently moored in Zapadni Harbor, St. George Island, undergoing a thorough damage survey. The Redeemer, based out of Dutch Harbor, will tow the Mar-Gun to Dutch Harbor for repairs. The transit is estimated to take about 30 hours.
The team used ground tackle, including three sea anchors weighing 8,000 to 10,000 pounds each, and a winch system to pull the vessel from the beach, which took place over several high tide cycles.
Responders removed 19,000 gallons of diesel and 660 gallons of lube oil from the vessel in March. During the effort they faced winter conditions, high winds, rough seas and ice.
"This was a tremendous effort by all involved," said Cmdr. Steven Pearson, chief of response Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. "The remote area and the sensitive nature of the habitat posed challenges to the effort that our diverse team overcame admirably and resulted in the successful recovery of the vessel."
A subsistence sampling program has been developed and will be implemented now that the vessel has been removed. The unified command recommends no subsistence harvests be conducted in the immediate area until sufficient sampling can be completed.
To date, neither the 18th century Russian settlement, Staraya Artil, nor the palentological site of the 2,000 year-old marine mammal bones have been impacted. Safeguards were in place to prevent damage to these locations.
The Seattle-based Mar-Gun grounded March 5 200-yards off the north end of St. George Island. All five crewmembers were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter and delivered to St. Paul. Response efforts to mitigate the pollution potential began immediately.