• Engine trouble and taking on water spelled trouble for the Daniel D
By Naomi Klouda
A 70-foot landing craft leaked 100 gallons of fuel into the tidal zone of the Homer Spit, after high tide pushed the leaking vessel to an unlucky angle.
The diesel likely will evaporate naturally with some of it absorbed by booms, said U.S. Coast Guard Spokesman David Mosley. “They are responsible for the cleanup. Coast Guard crews are on the scene to make sure any cleanup is done correctly and safely.”
The Daniel D Takak’s problems started when it hit the Gulf of Alaska, having sailed from Port Townsend, Wash. on its maiden voyage. Owned by the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., the vessel is a remodeled landing craft outfitted with a new engine. About 100 miles south of Cordova, the crew notified the Coast Guard that it was in trouble.
“The Coast Guard had to send pumps out because they were taking on water,” said Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins. The pumps allowed them to dewater the vessel enough to make a temporary patch to the hole, and so they set off for Homer.
“It came limping into Homer around 7 a.m. Thursday, after they notified the Harbor they were 12 miles off. They were again taking on water. We made a plan for them to go to the beach at Pier One. It would go dry there and they could stabilize it,” Hawkins said. “Then, not too much later, when they weren’t very far out, they notified the harbor that they were losing it.”
The vessel was sinking. Deputy Harbormaster Matt Clark and a maintenance supervisor got the harbor skiff and raced out to assist the vessel.
“When they were on the scene, water was on the deck and running into the cabin. The boat was absolutely sinking. They couldn’t make it around the corner to Pier One beach. The engines had lost power,” Hawkins said.
The sister ship Egavik, another landing craft, helped bring the Daniel D into the beach. Now leaking and lacking a working engine
This was at 9:45 a.m. Thursday. The crews and the good Samaritan vessel, the Egavik, worked through the day to remove water and attempt to fix the gaping hole. As of Thursday afternoon, the cabin was sinking into water and the problem was found to be more extensive. Sometime during the high tide, the vessel was lifted to an angle that allowed the fuel leak, Hawkins said.
“The Coast Guard said they did things right in a dangerous situation,” he said.
The fuel spread down the beach. “They worked all night long to try and absorb it. It spread all the way down the beach and became a rainbow sheen,” he said.
By later Friday afternoon, Hawkins said the crew was more confident that it had accomplished the patch job necessary to get it afloat and round the end of the Homer Spit to get to the harbor. Then, the plan was to truck the vessel to Seward, where it could be dry-docked for thorough repairs.
The Daniel D was en route to fishing operations up north. The Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation operates Norton Sound Seafood Products and has facilities throughout the region including the Unalakleet plant, Savoonga halibut processing plant, Nome plant, and buying stations at Elim, Golovin, and Shaktoolik.
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