MV Le Conte - Grounding


On May 10, 2004, the M/V LeConte nearly sank after running aground Cozian Reef in Peril Strait en route to Sitka. 86 passengers and 23 crew were on board at the time and all safely evacuated the ship upon grounding. After a Coast Guard response, passengers were evacuated to nearby good samaritan vessels to be taken to Sitka and booms were laid out to encircle the stranded, empty vessel. Soon after, 23,000 gallons of fuel were pumped out of the fuel tanks and cars were transferred to a landing craft in an elaborate procedure. A salvage operation then began and the vessel was successfully escorted to Ketchikan's Alaska Ship and Dry Dock for repairs under tow after temporary patches were put onto the expansive gashes that compromised five separate compartments of the hull — enough to have sunk the ship had it been lifted off its perch on the reef. Only minor injuries were suffered and only during the evacuation of the boat. The LeConte has now been repaired and is back in service. It is widely agreed a more dire emergency could have resulted had the weather not been so accommodating during the entire salvage process, especially in light of the fact that the LeConte was already listing ten degrees and the tides in Peril Strait were already making the situation highly precarious.

After assessing the circumstances of the grounding, it was concluded operator error caused the incident (not the notorious tidal currents that Peril Strait is known for) and those in command of the vessel were fired from the ferry system.

Read more about this topic:  MV Le Conte

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