UPDATE: Fuel from sunken vessel closes fishing in Nushagak District

Fuel sheen from the overturned Pacific Knight has closed commercial fishing in the Nushagak...
Fuel sheen from the overturned Pacific Knight has closed commercial fishing in the Nushagak District. (Viewer Submitted Photo) (KTUU)
Published: Jul. 25, 2018 at 3:27 PM AKDT
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5:00 p.m. Update:

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says 800 gallons of diesel and 300 gallons of hydraulic fluid was on board F/V Pacific Knight when it capsized and sunk just north of Clark's Point, about 11 nautical miles south of Dillingham early Wednesday.

Reports of sheen were reported early Thursday morning, prompting the Department of Fish and Game to issue an emergency closure of the Nushagak District to fishing Thursday afternoon.

The owner of F/V Pacific Knight has reportedly hired contractor Resolve Marine to carry out salvage operations. A dive team departed from Anchorage Thursday morning and is scheduled to dive to the vessel at 9:30 p.m. during slack tide to conduct an initial assessment.

3:00 p.m. Update:

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the closure of the Nushagak District to all commercial fishing as of 1:00 p.m. Thursday after fuel from the sunken fishing vessel Pacific Knight was observed by air.

According to ADF&G, fuel was seen by Fish and Game staff pooling in tide rips. The sheen is expected to spread across Nushagak Bay toward Dillingham with the tide, and presents a "significant chance of gear and fish being exposed to fuel."

The department also warns of the chance for gear and fish to be contaminated on Dillingham's beaches.

ADF&G says staff will continue to monitor the spread of fuel. There is no immediate timetable for when fishing might reopen.

7 a.m. Update:

The search has been suspended for a fisherman who went missing after the boat he was on capsized, the Coast Guard said Wednesday evening.

Two were rescued in the incident, Jeb Phillips, 31 of Petersburg, and a teenager, were able to escape the sinking ship, but the third, John Phillips, 59 of Juneau, could not be found.

In a statement, they said that crews searched for Phillips over more than 25 square nautical miles and 23 nautical miles of coastline, for approximately six hours, before calling off the search.

"Ending a search is never easy, especially when working alongside so many people dedicated to finding the missing person. Our condolences go out to this man’s family and friends during this time of hardship," Coast Guard lieutenant Stephen Nolan said in a statement.

The USCG also extended their appreciation for the search efforts that ultimately saved the two other passengers.

"The reports and assistance from good Samaritans and State Trooper personnel allowed for a timely search and the immediate rescue of two people in this case," Nolan said.

Original Story:

A search is underway for a crewmember of a fishing tender that capsized in Nushagak Bay Wednesday morning. Alaska State Troopers and the Coast Guard were notified at about 7:50 a.m. Wednesday by a Good Samaritan vessel that the 58-foot vessel had capsized.

It was reported that the three crewmembers on the "Pacific Knight" woke up to the boat taking on water near Clark's Point, south of Dillingham.

Two of the crew members were rescued from the water by another Good Samaritan vessel.

The Coast Guard, Troopers and Good Samaritan vessels are still searching for the third person.