EDITOR’S NOTE: For reporting purposes, the information is presented here to keep the greater Fishers Island community and other interested parties apprised of the situation. The data and real science behind this situation and the long-term effect on the environment should be gathered from the experts at USCG, DEC, ACOE, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, NYS ENCON Police, NY Department of Environmental Conservation, NY State Police, and other professionals involved.
UPDATE MARCH 20 4:00 PM
FROM USCG, Incident Management Division, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, “Today’s operations were stopped to address safety concerns. Our contractors have been professional and flexible throughout the operation. Due to incoming weather, I cannot tell you when operations will resume. As soon as I know I will call or email. Also, I passed your concerns about the lights and radar return to our field team. Our contractors did place a light on the vessel and will be checking the high flyer.”
The USCG said the salvage must take place in seas of 1′ or less. Regarding the weather, the present NOAA/NWS Marine Forecast predicts that will be Sunday evening, March 24.
USCG IMD LI confirmed today the “the boat will be removed” and “it will not be put back in the water”.
UPDATE MARCH 20 10:30 AM
The whole crew, contractors, gov agents were all here at the wreck site at 7:45 am this morning.
A bit before 10:00 am a FI Fire Fighter heard on the marine radio channel that the CG had issued a warning to boaters that a salvage op was happening near Fishers Island in Fishers Island Sound.
Then at about 10:00 they all left. Coast Guard boat, 2 Sea Tows, diver boat, and NYS ENCON boat, followed by tug and barge.
Click any image to see a larger version.
Wreck is still in place. The weather is perfect, the sea is almost dead calm, the temperature is 43 degrees, and we await an update on the salvage operation and the disposal plan for the F/V from the USCG.
It has now been 10 days since the original capsizing!
UPDATE MARCH 19 3:30PM
The salvage barge was delivered to the site by tug boat about noon today. At this time it is anchored for the night next to the capsized fishing vessel. Tomorrow morning the contractors will return and will prepare to pump any oil and remaining diesel from the vessel.
The greatly anticipated raising of the All For Joy did not happen today but stay tuned tomorrow for further developments.
Correspondence today revealed a new approach for the F/V. According to the USCG, “The plan is to remove the environmental threat and also remove the vessel. There are many options on how the vessel will be removed and who will take it, depending on the condition of the vessel. We cannot say for sure who is taking it, until after the vessel is raised and an assessment is conducted.”
Click any image to see a larger version.
UPDATE MARCH 19 7:30am
Learned last night the salvage barge should arrive on site today at 8:30am. Divers will secure outriggers before the All For Joy it is hauled out.
Currently, the plan is to get the fishing vessel (F/V) onto the barge, secure equipment, remove hazards, fuel, and any hydraulic oil.
The USCG “Incident Control Center” is treating it this situation as a ‘pollution mitigation incident’ and don’t consider it a ‘navigational hazard’.
The 55′ F/V will then be put it back in the water, in the same location, anchored, checked for seaworthiness, and left just off the mouth of Hay Harbor with no further action being taken.
It may sink again, in 60″ of water, or remain floating.
This will most likely be a 2-day affair.
UPDATE MARCH 18
The barge which will be involved in the raising of the wreck should be on its way to the site tomorrow March 19.
UPDATE MARCH 15 12:00pm
From Island Naturalist Justine Kibbe: She has been continually monitoring the Hay Harbor area and inlets. On Stony Beach this morning, “I monitored full circumference today- the usual coyote tracks, happy to see Herring Gulls & Great Black-backed Gulls diving for spawning sandworms, AND really happy – a Killdeer chattering away hopefully scouting for nest which would be fantastic.” She also reported the results of the baby seal necropsy. State Trooper John Havens called to say the seal death was unrelated to the fuel spill. “Some seals under stress eat rocks – that was what was discovered, and it was rare to find a seal within the Harbor crawled up on Big Stony” added Justine. DEC mailed Justine yesterday saying Mystic Aquarium did the necropsy analysis.
UPDATE MARCH 14 4:00pm
From the USCG notes: F/V ALL FOR JOY – Situation Brief – 14MAR19
Today the contractors placed two helix anchors on the F/V in preparation for weekend weather. In addition, a sorbent boom was placed
at [near] the entrance of Hay Harbor, and batteries were replaced on the lights to extend life. A meeting is scheduled tomorrow at 0900, 15 March, to discuss and determine the best method for fuel removal.
As reported in the North Fork Patch March 14, 6:00pm
Lt. Alaina Fagan, public affairs officer for Coast Guard Sector Long Island, said that there’s been “sheening” detected on the surface of the water near the vessel. Sheening, she explained, can be seen when the water takes on different hues.
“We have been on the scene for three days,” Fagan said. “The vessel is not continuously sheening.” When the USCG attached two new anchors to assure that the boat was tethered securely in place, that stirred up some new sheening, she said. “We are not sure where the point source is. We plugged all the fuel vents where fuel would normally escape from.” The fuel might just be residual or from a container on the vessel, Fagan said.
However, she added, it does not appear that the fuel has caused any immediate harm. “We did a shoreline assessment and there has been no shoreline impact,” she said. …
In addition, the USCG has been in consultation with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and learned that there are no “sensitive species in the area,” so no harmful impact is anticipated to area fish or wildlife, Fagan said.
There is no timeline yet for removal of the vessel, Fagan said; the USCG has hired contractors “to explore the safest and most effective way to remove fuel from the vessel,” a process that will involve engineering, she said, especially based on the boat’s present position. “It’s currently upside down with the mast in the mud,” she said.
A total of five anchors are holding the vessel securely in place, Fagan said. “They are working with their engineers to come up with a plan, which we will review and check with our engineers for safety and accuracy,” Fagan said.
UPDATE MARCH 14 1:00pm
Clean Harbors was on Island this morning and toured the spill areas identified yesterday. They installed a boom to soak up any oily residue in one location and surveyed the rest. Most are actually quite clean compared to less than 24 hours earlier. The sun yesterday helped to burn off the diesel oil sheen and more sun today will help further.
The divers were back this morning to further secure the wreck as weather is expected prior to the salvage operation which is scheduled for Monday, March 18.
Additionally, the NYS DEC is planning to make another trip to survey the shoreline and reassess on Monday with the NYS ENCON Police. And, ENCON marine patrol and the USCG will also be evaluating conditions at the site periodically over the weekend and providing the DEC with emergency updates as necessary.
UPDATE MARCH 13, 2019, 7:15pm
NEWSDAY LONG ISLAND SUFFOLK
Capsized boat near Fishers Island monitored for pollution threat
Officials are developing a plan to remove the partially submerged trawler as a patchy sheen and a diesel smell have been noticed in the area.
By Vera Chinesevera.firstname.lastname@example.org @VeraChinese Updated March 13, 2019
The U.S. Coast Guard and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are assessing potential pollution off the coast of Fishers Island after a “patchy sheen” was seen surrounding a fishing trawler that capsized Sunday morning.
Two men aboard a commercial fishing boat named “All For Joy” and based out of Hampton Bays issued a distress call about 7:30 a.m. Sunday after they began taking on water in a fish hold. They abandoned the trawler about two hours later and were pulled aboard a Coast Guard rescue vessel a minute before the All For Joy capsized. The boat is owned by Rick Lofstad, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The men were uninjured and the fishing boat remains partially submerged in Hay Harbor off Fishers Island. The island is 11 miles off the North Fork, closer to Connecticut.
Divers were unable to determine the pollution potential on Tuesday due to poor visibility, Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael White wrote in an email Tuesday. Divers returned to the site Wednesday, but it is unclear whether visibility had improved.
The Coast Guard, DEC and contractors will develop a plan to remove the fuel from the vessel. Coast Guard officials said the fuel is not expected to pose a threat to the public.
“Protecting public health and safety, and mitigating environmental impact from pollution threats are top priorities of the U.S. Coast Guard,” White said.
Fishers Island resident Jim Reid said the sheen was clearly visible from the shore and said he believed the substance to be diesel.
“There is a diesel smell and a slick coming to shore,” he said. “Having gallons of diesel coming toward the coastline is upsetting.”
The Coast Guard has anchored the vessel and attached orange mooring balls and strobe lights to enhance its visibility. High-flyer radar reflector equipment has been put in place and the Coast Guard will continue to broadcast a Safety Marine Information Broadcast.
Using an absorbent boom is not possible due to the weather, White said.
UPDATE MARCH 13, 2019 4:56PM
Geb Cook and RJ Burns attended a meeting this afternoon with USCG, NYDEC, Sea Tow, Mohawk, and Clean Harbors.
The grounded vessel had all its tanks capped off this morning by divers so no more fuel leakage. The diver showed underwater footage of the vessel so the salvage team can best figure how to pull the boat up. Unfortunately, the crane that is needed won’t be available until Monday, March 18. Tomorrow the divers will secure the boat with more anchors in addition to the 3 it has in place now. On Monday the barge crane with vacuum truck should arrive on site to raise the vessel and remove the fuel from the tanks.
After the meeting, Geb Cook returned to Fishers with the NYS ENCON to revisit the coastal area from North Hill into Hay Harbor.
Tomorrow, Thursday, March 14 a crew from Clean Harbors will be on Island to walk the shoreline and mop up any remaining oil with absorbent pads. The USCG also wants them to deploy absorbent boom in those areas where oil was most prevalent and leave in place into next week.
Compared to yesterday the oil is cleaning itself up and disappearing nicely just by the sun and tidal action.
UPDATE MARCH 13, 2019, 9:31am
FI Ferry Marine Ops Mgr RJ Burns is, and has been, in regular contact with the USCG with regard to the vessel and salvage ops.
FI Ferry General Manager Geb Cook is in contact with the clean up contractor (Clean Harbors). Because of the contract Clean Harbors has with the USCG, they have hired Sea Tow and Mohawk to salvage the vessel.
We are being updated regularly. Just now the USCG called RJ and said the vents on the vessel are plugged so no more oil “should” be leaking.
We also spoke to the USCG public affairs officer who gave us a comprehensive update. There is a meeting this afternoon with the contractors and USCG in New London at 1pm. The meeting is to discuss the salvage plan and shoreline operations. RJ and I will attend. The public affairs officer was not aware of the oil collecting on the shoreline and we emphasized the importance of getting a team on the island to address, today.
Thanks for the pictures from last night. We could really use updated info as to where the pockets of oil are today if anyone can check.
We recognize that the USCG, who is paying for the salvage and cleanup, is not taking this situation lightly. However, every step has to get cleared by USCG HQ. The meeting today will determine when salvage will take place. The earliest is tomorrow, Thursday, March 14. The shoreline cleanup may start tonight OR tomorrow.
Fishers Island Ferry District
UPDATE MARCH 12, 2019, 5:30 pm
During the day various entities visited the fishing vessel site.
Martin Flatley, Chief of Police, Southold Town Police Department reported to Louisa Evans at 3:00 pm that they had been in touch with the USCG. The Sector Long Island Sound, USCG informed them that they are working on the site this afternoon with the DEC and Sea Tow. Sea Tow divers were in the water assessing the damage to the All For Joy and the DEC is looking at any fuel/lubricants leaking from the vessel.
State Trooper John Havens, stationed on Fishers Island, reported this afternoon that the Coast Guard was able to anchor the floating wreck today so it will not be a navigation hazard. A ‘high flyer’ radar beacon was also added so it can be located by passing vessels. He also confirmed the divers had intended to cap the fuel, however, with the boat capsized, there are too many hazardous pieces of equipment hanging and floating in and around the vessel to enter in the wind and water conditions today.
The fuel leak was evident as early as 6:30 am when the strong odor was overpowering on the north side, particularly at North Hill west past Hay Harbor. The current, tide and winds today took the fuel into Hay Harbor and along Stoney Beach. This is of great concern and only monitoring and investigation will reveal the extent of possible damage and the necessary clean up.
The immediate and ultimate goal is to stop the fuel leak (most likely #2 diesel) and remove the vessel from the area as soon as possible.
UPDATE MARCH 12, 2019, 9:30 am
All that remains visible of F/V All For Joy is the bow, however, the rest of the fishing vessel is not sunk or aground in 60′ of water south of The Race as was reported yesterday. It is in about 25′ of water off the mouth of Hay Harbor on Fishers Island and is aground with the assumption that the outriggers and/or mast are holding fast as it has not moved since it was tagged with a beacon light last night. One strobe beacon is ashore at the end of the crescent-shaped Stoney Beach. Now the smell of diesel fuel is very strong so plans to cap the fuel tank on Wednesday or Thursday need to be readdressed. There are developing plans for the salvage of the remaining vessel later this week.
The vessel did capsize southwest of The Race on Sunday, March 10, however, it did not sink and has made its way, with the help of the very strong current, into Fishers Island Sound and westward.
UPDATE MARCH 11, 2019
A portion of the hull of “All For Joy” drifting in Fishers Island Sound, just off Fishers Island’s Silver Eel Cove late morning March 11. The rest of the vessel is currently aground on its outriggers and/or mast in 60′ of water south of The Race. The New York State ENCON Police were evaluating the drifting situation and planning to attach a light beacon as a precaution overnight into March 12. Photo Credit: Jane T. Ahrens
Click any image for a larger version.
“All For Joy” dropping off a portion of the catch in Silver Eel Cove for transport to New London, CT via Fishers Island ferry Munnatawket in March 2018. Photo Credit: Marlin Bloethe