By Matthew Simon, Chris Klint and The Associated Press
Channel 2 News
4:11 PM AKDT, June 9, 2012
A U.S. ArmyReserve vessel that struck an object and began taking on water late Friday night grounded on a small island near Kodiak to avoid sinking, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
According to Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst and radio station KMXT, the crew of the landing craft Monterrey, assigned to the 481st Transportation Company in Vallejo, Calif., placed a mayday call after the vessel hit Humpback Rock in Chiniak Bay at 10:16 p.m.
Maj. Annmarie Daneker, an Army Reserve media relations officer, said the Monterrey’s crew of 16 to 18 people subsequently grounded on Puffin Island at the request of the Coast Guard.
An Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter launched at 10:44 p.m. to assist the Monterrey, and the good Samaritan fishing vessels Resolution and Peggy Joe also responded to the scene. Two Monterrey crew members with minor injuries were transported to Kodiak aboard the Peggy Joe.
The Coast Guard says the Monterrey may be carrying up to 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Two tanks aboard the 174-foot landing craft were reportedly damaged and leaking 15,291 gallons of fuel, and the Coast Guard has contracted with Alaska Chadux Corp. to contain and clean up the leak.
DeVuyst said Alaska Chadux’s initial steps include setting up three containment booms around the Monterrey, in the area of the spill and around the mouth of the Buskin River. The firm has also contracted a skimming vessel to clean up oil between the Monterrey’s initial impact point and the site of its grounding.
A report from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation suggested that the damaged tank had completely emptied. Four response vessels were on scene as of noon Saturday, with an estimated 3,000 total feet of containment boom deployed so far.
In a Saturday statement from the Coast Guard, Daneker thanked those who responded to the grounding.
“The U.S. Army Reserve is grateful for the prompt response of the Coast Guard and the many good Samaritans who ensured the safety and health of our Soldiers,” Daneker said. “The safety of the crew and the protection of the local environment is our top priority and we will cooperate fully with the Coast Guard during the cleanup and salvage efforts.”
The Monterrey was transporting heavy construction equipment from Port Hueneme, Calif. to Bethel in support of a U.S. Marine Corps mission.
Email Matthew Simon
Editor's note: The Associated Press initially identified the Monterrey as an Army Corps of Engineers vessel. The article has since been updated to reflect the Monterrey as a U.S. Army Reserve vessel.
Copyright © 2013, KTUU-TV