Vessel thought to have sunk turns up on Afognak beach

Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2002

KODIAK (AP) -- A commercial fishing vessel that ran aground at Afognak Island, 25 miles north of Kodiak, has been identified as a Japanese fishing boat that was thought to have sunk last May.

Coast Guard officials said the 97-foot Genei Maru No. 7 caught fire last May in the North Pacific and was abandoned by its crew.

The boat was spotted Sunday. Coast Guard officials in Kodiak say they received a report of a fishing vessel on the beach at Kasakov Bay on Afognak Island.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew flew over the vessel, smelled diesel fumes and saw an oil sheen drifting away from the vessel. It's not known how much fuel remains aboard the boat.

A Coast Guard marine safety investigator was able to inspect the vessel during the helicopter flight and determined that the hull appeared to be damaged in several places, including the stern area, where it struck rocks when it landed.

The Japanese company that owns the vessel is KK Yamatsu Anichi Shoten. The Coast Guard has contacted the company and is discussing salvage options. If arrangements are not made in a timely manner, the Coast Guard says it will hire a salvage company and seek reimbursement from the owner.

The Genei Maru was fishing for squid and was outside U.S. waters when it caught fire last May. The crew did not request Coast Guard assistance. Crew members were rescued by another boat in the area.

The Coast Guard Command Center in Juneau has received periodic reports from mariners who have spotted the vessel. The last position reported was in the Gulf of Alaska on Oct. 15.

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