The towing tug Powhatan sank in Samson Tug & Barge dock in Starrigavan Bay about 7 nautical miles north from Sitka in Alaska, USA. The vessel sank in the bay close to the dock after being drifted offshore. On board of the submerged tug there were 325 gallons of lube oil, 12 gallons of diesel and unknown quantity of sludge in the bottom of the tanks. Some part of the oil spilled into the Starrigavan Bay, but exact volume is unknown. The local authorities, Alaska Department Environmental Conservation, US Coast Guard and Southeast Petroleum Response Organization (SEAPRO) responded to the scene of the accident. At the site of sinking were laid oil booms, which should container and restrict the oil spill at the surface. The response team is monitoring impacts to wildlife and recover any spillage and assess the shoreline, but no incidents have been detected so far.
Initially the towing tug Powhatan sank at depth of 15.00 m, but then the wreck shifted downslope about 330 meters to the Northwest before coming to a rest under 60.00 m of water depth. The area will be inspected by underwater camera, which will be used to confirm the tug’s location and monitor for fuel leakage.
The investigation for the root cause of the accident is underway.
The towing tug Powhatan has overall length of 30.00 m, moulded beam of 8.00 m and maximum draft of 2.00 m. The vessel is owned and operated by Samson Tug & Barge.