Keeping the fuel from the 82-foot pleasure craft Nord Fjord, which began sinking earlier in December, from polluting the ocean is now a major concern facing the U.S. Coast Guard, said Ricardo Castrodad, public affairs officer for the San Juan sector, on Friday.
The Coast Guard responded to a distress call Dec. 9 about the Nord Fjord sinking in Hull Bay on the north shore of St. Thomas.
The manager at the Hull Bay Hideaway Bar, reportedly, saw the boat in distress and notified some boaters who went out and rescued the two men on board.
The Nord Fjord then floated out of the bay into the ocean where it was salvaged and refloated by Sea Tow Puerto Rico.
According to Castrodad, “The vessel is currently secured off of Cayo Norte (North Key) north of Culebra, Puerto Rico, where it has been surrounded by two layers of containment and absorbent boom as salvage efforts continue.”
Once the vessel has been fully raised, the fuel that remains onboard must be removed. Castrodad said unfavorable weather conditions have contributed to delays in the operation.
The yacht reportedly has 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel on board, but it is not discharging fuel at this time and the fuel tank vents have been sealed off.
Since the Nord Fjord is a private recreation vessel, no Coast Guard investigation in what went wrong is automatically triggered.
The vessel’s namesake, Nordfjord, Norway, is located in a great wilderness area between two glaciers.