New wreck at Palos Verdes

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Posted by . on December 10, 2003 at 02:07:55:

Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Crews work to cut hazards from boat

RECOVERY: Divers remove fuel from sunken San Pedro fishing vessel as investigators seek answers

By Nick Green

Crews are expected to continue removing gas and oil from a 66-foot-long San Pedro-based commercial fishing vessel that sank over the weekend in more than 140 feet of water about 400 yards off the shore of Long Point in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The Jenny Lynne sank for an unknown reason early Saturday while fishing for sardines, but its seven-member crew was evacuated before that occurred and picked up by another fishing boat, the San Pedro Pride, state and federal officials said.

“There’s an ongoing investigation into actually what occurred,” said Lt. Michelle Bas of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Jenny Lynne’s owner contracted with Long Beach-based Patriot Environmental to conduct a cleanup of the site and that company has hired a diving company, said Bryan Gollhofer, a game warden with the California Department of Fish and Game’s Office of Spill Prevention & Response.

It’s the diving company’s large ship, which includes a decompression chamber, that Palos Verdes Peninsula residents can see offshore, he said. It is not, as some believe, a ship fishing illegally.

“What they’re doing is called ‘stinging the vessel,’ which essentially means they’re pulling the fuel and oil off the fishing vessel so it’s no longer a risk to the environment,” said Gollhofer, who added that only a “trace” amount of fuel had escaped. “There’s none on the shore and there’s no impact on wildlife.”

Officials estimate more than 500 gallons of fuel remain aboard the ship, which had set sail several days ago. Booms have been set up to capture any fuel that might escape.

No decision has been made on whether to salvage the boat.

Gollhofer declined to release the name of the ship’s owner, citing the ongoing investigation.

“It could potentially be a criminal investigation,” he said. “Oil spills in California marine waters are criminal.”

Whether a crime occurred depends on the cause of the sinking of the steel-hulled vessel, which was built in 1972, Gollhofer said.

Publish Date:December 9, 2003

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