The U.S. Coast Guard's Pacific Strike Team, a cadre of specially-equipped guardsmen deployed to hazardous situations nationwide, are headed to southwest Alaska's Igushik River to help remove the sunken vessel Lone Star, which caused the closure of a commercial fishery.
The team, which includes some of the Coast Guard's top emergency responders, will help state and local response crews already on the river, said Lt. Jason Gangel, Coast Guard Sector Anchorage's chief of response.
The Pacific team is part of the guard's National Strike Force, which includes more than 200 active, civilian, rescue, reserve and auxiliary personnel. There are specific teams designated for the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions.
Last month, the Atlantic team help salvage the Marseilles Dam on the Illinois River after seven 200-foot barges containing steel coils, ore, concrete and chemicals broke free from a tugboat and rammed it. Typically, the team deals with released hazardous materials and oil spills.
The Atlantic team's counterpart should have few problems removing the 78-foot Lone Star. The vessel sank with a reported 35,000 pounds of fish, 14,000 gallons of diesel, 150 gallons of lube oil, 150 gallons of hydraulic fluid and 250 gallons of gasoline aboard.
The vessel capsized June 30  after its anchor chain got caught in its tranductor line, damaging the hull. The accident closed commercial fisheries until July 1 -- but fishing was closed again on July 5, due to leaking fluid.
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