In 1952 Princess Kathleen went aground on Point Lena, approximately 15 miles north of Juneau Alaska. Not long after grounding she flooded with the incoming tide and slid back into 120 feet of water. The vessel has been stationary for almost 60 years but there had been increased reports of tar balls on shore and sheen in the water off of Point Lena so the US Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation implemented a plan to extract the fuel oil from the cruise ship and mitigate the potential for a major release.
Global Diving and Salvage are the contracted diving company tasked with the underwater operations. They are a well travelled group with a ton of talent and a pretty interesting job.
This is the work platform that we are using to dive off of and house the oil that is being extracted from Princess Kathleen.
I had not done any work on marine responses before so everything was fairly new to me. The barge on the right will ultimately accept the old oil and haul it down to Seattle. When I left we had recovered over 10,000 gallons of oil and it looks like there could be as much as 50,000 more gallons to go.
This is one of the divers getting prepped to do some work on Kathleen.
This is one of the divers coming out of the water after working inside of the vessel.
We had deployed harbor boom and absorbent boom around the work platform in an attempt to catch the majority of the oil that escaped with the divers or from the fuel tanks.
The "Neka Bay" was one of the response vessels that was always on site prepared to assist if there was a major release while constantly assisting with booming operations.
Deploying boom away from the work site. This was a secondary layer of protection and picked up the remaining oil that escaped the first line.
After a long day of setting boom in the rain and wind we were treated to a rainbow pointing out our last anchor point. Overall this is a fairly technical operation that I was not exactly trained up on, but I certainly learned a lot about maritime operations and I think the Feds and the State are doing a real service to Alaskan waters by removing a large threat to the area.