By Mark Edward Nero
On July 30, the US Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Fishing Company of Alaska called off the search for a missing fishing vessel, which presumably sank in about 5,400 feet of water in the Bering Sea, after the rescue of dozens of crewmembers.
“We have searched and have not been able to locate the fishing vessel Alaska Juris,” federal on-scene coordinator representative Lt. Todd Bagetis said.
The Coast Guard and other entities had formed a Unified Command last week to respond to the Alaska Juris, which began to take on water around 11:30 am on July 26.
Good Samaritan crews from four vessels assisted in the rescue of 46 mariners who abandoned ship after the vessel began taking on water. The mariners were transported to Adak, Alaska.
The Unified Command had activated a fishing vessel, salvage tug, and a Coast Guard aircraft crew to search the area northwest of Adak, Alaska, where the Alaska Juris was last seen.
Searches by sea were conducted on July 28-30, and air searches were conducted on July 29 and 30, with the vessel not being found. A search was also conducted along the track of the vessel’s projected drift.
Unrecoverable diesel sheen was located in the search area with the source of the sheen unknown but believed to be from the Alaska Juris.
Through an abundance of caution, the Fishing Company of Alaska formally activated a state and federally-approved oil spill response organization per a non-tank vessel response plan.
“We have received reports of intermittent unrecoverable sheen, potentially resulting from the sinking of this vessel,” state on-scene coordinator Ron Doyle said. “We do not anticipate any shoreline impacts. We will continue to monitor the situation and look into any future reports we receive.”
The cause of the fishing vessel’s sinking is under investigation.