The fishing vessel Arctic Hunter weathered a string of storms over the weekend. The 93-foot crab boat is resting on the rocks outside Morris Cove, where it’s been partially submerged since Friday.
Resolve-Magone Marine Services had a tough time reaching the vessel due to stormy weather, but crews made it to the scene on Saturday and have since pumped out 9,000 gallons of fuel and hydraulic oil.
They still have to empty another tank, which is below the water line. The Coast Guard will have to raise the vessel in order to access that hold. Coast Guard public affairs officer Shawn Eggert says they’re awaiting a weather window to do so.
There were reports of an oil sheen soon after the Arctic Hunter first ran aground, but Eggert says a Coast Guard crew saw no signs of a spill during a flyover this weekend.
In the meantime, the Coast Guard is investigating what caused the accident.
“Our understanding right now is that the ship’s master was asleep at the wheel when the vessel initially ran aground,” Eggert says.
The Arctic Hunter grounded outside Unalaska early Friday morning and began taking on water. The crew issued a distress call around 4 a.m. They abandoned ship and were picked up by the good Samaritan fishing vessel Saga.
After that, the Arctic Hunter dislodged and drifted five miles down the coast outside of Morris Cove, where it’s stuck now.
Unalaska public safety officers and Coast Guard personnel met up with the Saga around 7 a.m. Public safety director Jamie Sunderland says they wanted to speak with the Arctic Hunter crew.
Police administered a field sobriety test to the skipper, which he passed. But Sunderland says the skipper failed another exam.
“He provided a sample for the [portable breathalyzer test] that would have been slightly over the allowed limit,” Sunderland says.
The skipper allegedly told police that he had a drink after the accident — not before. Sunderland says the crew corroborated that account.
Sunderland says the Coast Guard will handle any further investigation.