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174-foot Army landing craft runs aground, spills fuel into Alaskan bay

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg / U.S. Coast Guard

The Army vessel Monterrey is grounded on Puffin Island in Chiniak Bay near Kodiak on Saturday. A boom was placed around the vessel to help contain spilled diesel.

A 174-foot Army Reserve landing craft carrying equipment to help move an Alaskan village struck a rock in a bay near Kodiak, then was run aground to keep the vessel from sinking, causing thousands of gallons of fuel to spill, Coast Guard and Army Reserve officials said Saturday.

The Monterrey was crossing Womens Bay with a crew of 15 aboard on Friday night when it struck a submerged rock, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Grant DeVuyst, a Coast Guard spokesman in Kodiak. The Coast Guard received a Mayday about 10:15 p.m. local time, and the vessel was grounded about four miles away on Puffin Island in Chiniak Bay, DeVuyst told msnbc.com.


Two fuel compartments appeared to have been breached, spilling more than 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel, DeVuyst said. He said that the fuel was expected to disperse but that the Coast Guard was working to get skimmers in to clean up any remaining diesel.

The Monterrey was traveling from Port Hueneme, Calif., to Bethel in western Alaska, carrying a load of construction equipment and vehicles for the Marine Corps, said Maj. Annmarie Daneker, media relations officer with the Army Reserve in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Daneker told msnbc.com that three crew members who suffered minor injuries were taken to Kodiak, treated and released.

Daneker said the first focus would be on cleaning up any spilled fuel, then getting the equipment off the Monterrey. She said the Army Reserve would dispatch another vessel to pick up the equipment unless the Marine Corps required a quicker effort.

The construction equipment was to be used in a federal project to move the villagers of Newtok to Mertarvik, about nine miles away, the Army Reserve said in a statement. The Marine Corps is leading the construction of an emergency shelter, homes, roads and an airfield for the villagers.

Newtok, a Yupik Eskimo village of about 400 people on the Ninglick River in western Alaska, is threatened by erosion and melting and sinking permafrost. 

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