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Two boats that sank in Kachemak Bay moved to Homer Harbor

Michael ArmstrongHomer News
Michael Armstrong / Homer News

Two boats that sank in Jakolof Bay not far from Homer, Alaska, in December have been raised and moved to the Homer Harbor. U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Homer, working with Global Diving and Salvage, refloated the F/V Kupreanof and F/V Leading Lady last week and brought them to the harbor.

The vessels will be hauled out and moved to Northern Enterprises Boat Yard on the next good tide, said Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins. "They're not going to sink on our watch. Period.

"They will keep moving. I'll keep the fires burning brightly under their feet to make sure they meet their haulout schedule."

Bilge pumps on both boats are running to keep them afloat, and harbor officers and a contractor working for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are monitoring the boats.

The Coast Guard removed oil, fuel and about 12 containers of oil products from the vessels. They are no longer determined to be a pollution threat, said Jonathan Alexander of Marine Safety Detachment Homer. Containment boom was put around the vessels during the refloating. The operation was funded by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund established by the 1990 Oil Pollution Act.

The Homer Harbor refused the boats' owner to moor the vessels when they first arrived after harbor officers determined they were not safe to stay, Hawkins said. The boats also did not have insurance. Hawkins allowed the boats back in because ownership had been taken over by DNR. Normally if unsafe boats needed temporary mooring, the city would require a bond and a scope-of-work plan. The city waived that requirement since DNR had taken responsibility for insurance and moorage fees.

"We felt we need to play along in the game and seek a solution," Hawkins said. "They needed to be hauled out. We allowed them to come into the harbor for that time."

Used with permission.  Reporter Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.