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Currents, depth continue to hamper fuel spill response near Victoria

Accessing fishing boat still presenting a challenge, almost a week after it sank
The U.S. Coast Guard on Aug. 16 recovers most of a seine fishing net that detached from a vessel that sank off between Washington state and Greater Victoria on Aug. 13. (U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest/Twitter)

The depth and location of the diesel-leaking fishing boat that sank between Greater Victoria and San Juan Island continue to be a problem for those tasked with the response.

“Crews continue to face challenges accessing the vessel,” the unified command for the response said Friday.

The Aleutian Isle fishing boat went down off the Washington state island on Aug. 13 and diesel has seeped out of its unplugged vents ever since. Divers have not been able to do that plugging work due to several factors impacting their access to the boat.

Crews temporarily lost the vessel earlier this week when it sank from 100 to 200 feet. After relocating the Aleutian Isle, dive teams on Wednesday had to leave and go secure equipment that would allow them to make the deeper plunges. The strong currents of the Haro Strait also limit the times that divers can safely enter the water.

“The unified command and industry experts are moving forward with haste to commence operations to eliminate any further pollution risk,” a Friday update said. “Sheening continues to be negligible and protective booming will remain in place over the weekend.”

The officials say they’ll continue to monitor pollution from the wreckage and the locations of protected marine species. Absorbent booms will continue to be adjusted to protect sensitive ecological areas and teams are ready to use acoustic deterrence to keep marine life away – though environmental groups have questioned the effectiveness of those systems.

READ: Eco groups say spectre of future oil tanker spill looms after fuel leak near Victoria

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About the Author: Greater Victoria News Staff

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