February 13, 2013 | Vol. 25 Edition 7

Boat Sinks in Valdez Small Boat Harbor

Pleasure craft had over 400 gallons of fuel aboard

A 42-foot pleasure boat sank at its berth at the Valdez small boat harbor Saturday, just before it was slated for snow removal.

Photo courtesy USCG
The 42-foot pleasure boat Rivendell II sank in its berth at the Valdez Small Boat Harbor Saturday, prompting a quick response from the USCG. Petty Officer 2nd Class Terry Clark, a pollution responder with Marine Safety Unit Valdez, inspected the vessel, along with contractors R&R Diving. The boat, owned by Dan and Joanne Portwine of Fairbanks, was slated to be re-floated Tuesday. Coast Guard officials say the cause of the sinking was unknown at this time.

The Rivendell II, owned by Fairbanks couple Dan and Joanne Portwine, was refloated Tuesday by Valdez contractor R&R Diving.

“The Valdez Harbormaster notified the Coast Guard at 9:04 a.m. Saturday of the vessel sunk in its berth,” the US Coast Guard said in a press release.

R&R Diving was contracted by the vessel's caretaker, the Coast Guard said, and absorbent pads and boom were placed in the water around the vessel. Divers inspected the vessel Saturday and secured all fuel vents to prevent further fuel discharge into the harbor.

The boat had a reported 460 gallons of fuel onboard when it sank.

The official cause of the sinking is under investigation.

“A cause for sinking has yet to be determined,” the Coast Guard said before the vessel was refloated. “..the case is still under investigation by the Coast Guard.”

Lt. Allie Ferko, the Coast Guard’s public affairs officer in Valdez, was unavailable for comment on the status of the investigation as of Thursday morning.

Valdez experienced heavy snowfall Saturday morning, followed by heavy rains Sunday, which accumulated atop the mostly submerged boat.

Reader Comments


judeemale writes:

it really helps if you shovel the snow load off your boat and people living in Valdez are very aware of this, people that dont live in Valdez must live in a fantasy world where there is no snow.