.Fishing Boat Destroyed Off Sonoma Coast — Spilling Diesel, Debris

I think we could probably all use some closure, re: the Aleutian Storm, that fishing boat that ran aground and got stuck at Salmon Creek Beach during a crabbing mission along the Sonoma County coast a couple of weeks ago. As expected, the powerful ocean waves during this last storm reportedly ripped what was left of the 58-foot, 57-ton vessel to shreds over the past week. That’s awful news for the San Francisco fishing crew who depended on the ship for their livelihood — and also awful news for the local ecosystem absorbing the ship’s remains. From the Press Democrat: “The vessel has been torn apart piece by piece — the mast, the pilot house, the cabin, the decking — resulting in a debris field that now encompasses much of North Salmon Creek Beach, as well as the south. Bits of foam rubber and Styrofoam are scattered far and wide. The boat also appears to have leaked all or most of the diesel fuel still left on board after an attempt to drag it out of the surf and onto the beach failed on Friday. The site ‘just reeked of diesel fuel,’ said Jerry Dodrill, a local photographer and director with the nonprofit B-RAD Foundation who helped with some of the cleanup over the weekend and earlier. The fumes were so bad that Cea Higgins, a Bodega Bay resident and executive director of Coastwalk California, went home after four days of collecting wreckage with a headache…. But what bothers her and many people the most are what they consider gaps in the response to the vessel’s late-night grounding near Bodega Dunes State Park. They cite missed opportunities they believe could have saved the vessel, preserved the financial future of its owner, Capt. Chris Fox, and spared protected coastline from the fallout.” Another longtime fisherman from Fort Bragg tells the paper: “It’s traumatizing is what it is. I wake up every night grinding my teeth over this. We know how to do this. It doesn’t have to be a loss every time.” The various government agencies involved in overseeing this mess haven’t released any information about how much diesel spilled, or what the damage is — they just keep warning everyone to avoid the area. “The California Department of Parks and Recreation has announced a BEACH CLOSURE for South Salmon Creek Beach,” the county government posted a few days ago. “The beach is closed to ensure the health and safety of the public due to the ongoing salvage operation of the Aleutian Storm. The operation requires the use of heavy equipment and a large safety buffer for the operators. This closure includes all State Park lands from Salmon Creek extending south to Mussel Point, until further notice.” (Source: County of Sonoma via Facebook & CA Office of Spill Prevention & Response via Facebook & ABC7 & Press Democrat; paywall)

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