Wreck Removal Preparations Continue for F/V Arctic Hunter

Thursday, January 16 2014

The Arctic Hunter is still aground outside Unalaska. /Credit: Annie Ropeik

Work is progressing slowly on the grounded crab boat Arctic Hunter as salvagers plan how to pull it off the rocks.

The 93-foot vessel has been grounded outside Morris Cove since Nov. 1. The boat’s insurer is coordinating some of the operations that need to go on before the wreck removal can start.

Insurance adjustor Jim Ronning says last Friday, crews from Unalaska-based Mac Enterprises cleared some debris from the Hunter that had washed up on shore.

"We were able to put, I think, six people on the beach, collecting debris," he says. "Then we had some other people running from a collection vessel offshore -- a safe distance offshore -- into the beach to pick that debris off and carry it back ... and then ultimately transport all that material to the local landfill."

Another planned operation will give potential salvagers a better idea of what they’re facing in trying to remove the Hunter.

"The other project that we hoped to get done this weekend, but were not successful in doing, was gathering data concerning the configuration of the ocean bottom offshore of the wreck," he says, "so that people who are planning the wreck removal process ... know where the hazards are and what challenges they may face in bringing equipment into that surfline so that they can work on the vessel."

Weather made it impossible to gather that data last weekend. The process involves side-scan sonar, and Ronning says the water was too choppy for it. Once the scan is done, he says it’ll help salvage companies from outside Unalaska finalize their plans.

Ronning says they haven’t selected a salvage company to do the wreck removal yet. They’re considering Resolve-Magone Marine Services, plus several other companies from the Lower 48.

There’s no clear timeline yet for when they’ll choose a salvager and get the work started. Weather is a big factor there -- for both prep work and what comes after. But Ronning says the Hunter is stuck securely on the rocks. It’s not going to drift away before work can begin.

Carol Harris on Tuesday, May 20 2014:

Just watched Deadliest Catch episode where the Arctic Hunter ran into the rocks. So glad the entire crew were able to be rescued with the help of the Saga. Too bad the vessel is nothing but scrape, but at least the crew survived. Way to go Elliot and the Saga crew!

Lekanoff on Monday, January 20 2014:

Then hike on out there and start picking stuff up

Suzi Golodoff on Thursday, January 16 2014:

There is still a wide swath of debris along that shore, and accumulating now at No Name Cove. Plastic and junk and bad stuff for our beaches. More clean up needs to be done.

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