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Boaters asked to abide by safety zone restrictions near wreck site


Sunday, the Global Diving recovery team deployed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) at the site of the sunken fishing vessel Aleutian Isle near Sunset Point off the west side San Juan Island. The team was able to gather valuable water current and tidal data, as well as wreck assessments.

When the ROV reached the wreck, an estimated one hundred feet of fishing net was discovered. For the safety of on-scene personnel, and marine species, this debris will be removed as dive operations carry on.

Additionally, diver inspection of the sunken vessel’s hull for structural integrity was conducted. The vessel is reportedly stable enough for the recovery process to begin, but further inspections by divers are scheduled for Tuesday.  

The barge and crane that will be used to raise the sunken vessel, the Aleutian Isle, has been securely anchored, and divers are preparing for underwater operations. Dive team recovery operations are estimated to take ten days once they begin. A temporary safety zone extends 1,000 yards around the dive site. Coast Guard crews are on scene to enforce the safety zone. 

The Unified Command appreciates the public’s cooperation as divers and crews work to recover the Aleutian Isle without incident for the protection of the environment, sensitive and endangered species and all response personnel working the incident.

Persons caught violating a safety zone are subject to civil penalties under the law.

Severe wakes from recreational boaters violating the safety zone are making the already challenging environment MORE challenging and extremely dangerous. Recently, one person was injured with non-life-threatening injuries which caused all operations to cease.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) around the incident site. The public may not fly drones/UAS within this TFR zone, which extends up to and including 800 feet above areas around Henry Island and Garrison Bay south to areas around Eagle Point.

The TFR will remain in effect until 1 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1.

An incident-specific web page has been created by the Washington Department of Ecology. Additional photos of the response can be found on Flickr. Developing updates will also be posted periodically on the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest social media accounts listed below.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/USCGPNW

Twitter: https://twitter.com/USCGPacificNW

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uscgpacificnw/

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