A U.S. Coast Guard crew from Sector San Francisco came to Berkeley to help save a sinking boat that was mostly underwater when it was discovered Monday morning.
A boater at the Berkeley Marina reported the problem to authorities, including the Coast Guard, the Berkeley Fire Department and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. One local resident told Berkeleyside it appeared fuel had leaked “over much of harbor” nearby.
Petty Officer Cory Mendenhall, a spokesman for the Coast Guard, said the USCG team saw “sheening” around the 45-foot fishing vessel when it got to Berkeley around 8 a.m. Monday. That could be a sign of fuel coming out, and could also be grime and dirt from the surface of the boat, Mendenhall said. The boat was still moored at the dock when it went down.
The Coast Guard contacted a contractor, NRC Environmental Service, to handle the cleanup. NRC floated a “boom” around the vessel to keep anything in the water from spreading.
Mendenhall said Monday afternoon there were plans to re-float the vessel, and have another contractor, Vessel Assist, tow it for salvage out of the water. Coast Guard personnel from Sector San Francisco’s Incident Management Division have been monitoring the operations.
The reason the boat sank was not immediately known.
“It does happen from time to time,” Mendenhall said. “It’s not completely out of the ordinary.”
He said the U.S. Coast Guard took on the matter because, as a federal agency, it has priority over local agencies.
“We’ll respond to pretty much any call as long as it falls under our missions,” he said. “Even something as far as one fishing vessel in a marina, we’re still going to respond.”
Crews used float bags and large pumps to raise the boat, named the “Endurance,” up out of the water, according to the local resident who told Berkeleyside about the incident. The plan was to tow the boat to Bay Marine in Richmond on Tuesday.
Much of the oil in the area was gone as of Tuesday, though some remained on one side of N dock, the resident said.