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Fishing vessels aground across Narrows


Photo courtesy of John Havrilek

The 42-foot gillnetter Moonshadow and 57-foot tender Robert G. Johnston remain aground on the shore of Kupreanof Island. Little is known at this point what caused the wreckage.

Two fishing vessels belonging to Arnold Enge, the 42-foot gillnetter Moonshadow and 57-foot tender Robert G. Johnston, remain aground on the shore of Kupreanof Island after becoming submerged there last week.

The initial report about the Robert G. Johnston came from a Coast Guard auxiliary vessel patrolling the area that reported seeing no evidence of any spillage. The Coast Guard immediately contacted Enge and he reported previously pumping the fuel and oil tanks, says Lt. Jennifer Ferreira, sector Juneau public affairs officer.

"(Enge) had plans to go out and salvage his vessel, and that's when the Anacapa reported to us the second vessel, the Moonshadow, was aground in the same area," she says. "Ultimately it is the owners responsibility for salvage. We at the Coast Guard don't conduct salvage operations."

Possible pollution is the primary concern for the Coast Guard, and a boom has been deployed around the vessels as a preventative measure to contain any possible leakage. The second concern is the grounded vessels creating an issue for other vessels navigating the waterway, Ferreira says.

On Tuesday, two Coast Guard marine safety technicians from Juneau arrived on scene and reported no visible sheen from leaking oil, according to Ferreira.

The Robert G. Johnston was anchored north of the Kupreanof state dock for the winter, and it has a bit of a reputation for dragging its anchor. The City of Kupreanof council has discussed the vessel at council meetings in the past and the possible danger it could create for the nearby state dock.

"It tends to move around when there's wind or with the currents," says Becky Regula, Kupreanof city clerk and treasurer. "I don't know what happened, but it is really tragic to see that out there like that."

Regula says Enge is diligent about making sure the vessel is relocated to a safe distance from the dock if it does in fact move.

Enge could not be reached for comment.


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