Powhatan, an 81-foot tug owned by the Samson Tug and Barge Company sank at the pier on Wednesday night in Sitka. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sitka and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation personnel are responding.
Samson Tug and Barge Company has contracted Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization for oil recovery, Hanson Maritime to dive and survey the tug, and are developing a salvage plan.
The sunken tug, Powhatan, is an 81-foot vessel owned by Samson Tug and Barge Company that had been out of service for over ten years. The tug’s total fuel capacity is 20,000 gallons. Samson Tug and Barge Company reported only the forward fuel tank had been in use recently with a maximum capacity of 2,500 gallons and the other fuel tanks had previously been drained. The vessel sank at the pier on Wednesday evening and subsequently slid under the pier approximately 200 yards along an underwater ledge. Some residual diesel fuel and oil is leaking from the sunken vessel. SEAPRO has placed boom around the vessel to contain the leak.
The cause of the sinking in relatively calm conditions is under investigation.