A U.S. Army Reserve landing craft hit a rock just south of Kodiak Island late Friday and was then beached on a small strip of land, where it leaked fuel Saturday, according to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard estimates the 174-foot Monterrey has leaked more than 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel into Chiniak Bay.
It hit Humpback Rock about 10:15 p.m. Friday and began taking on water. Two crewmen out of the 17 onboard suffered minor injuries in the collision with the rock, and a Coast Guard helicopter and two good Samaritan boats in the area arrived soon after to help. The Monterrey crew piloted the vessel onto tiny Puffin Island so it wouldn't sink, the Coast Guard said.
The Monterrey, a landing craft with the 481st Transportation Company located in Vallejo, Calif., was taking supplies and heavy equipment from Port Hueneme, Calif., to Bethel for the U.S. Marine Corps.
A tank holding 8,000 gallons of the vessel's total 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel emptied into Chiniak Bay, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The crash damaged another of the Monterrey's fuel tanks, which had a capacity of more than 9,000 gallons, but it was unclear exactly how much fuel leaked out of that tank, Russell said.
The Coast Guard put the amount of fuel released at 15,291 gallons.
Two containment booms were around the beached Monterrey and a third boom was protecting the mouth of the nearby Buskin River. Military responders and contractors were looking into the possibility of skimming fuel from the ocean surface, a Coast Guard spokesman said.
There had been intense concern early on that the sensitive Buskin River fishery and Bells Flats recreation area would need greater protection, but that didn't appear necessary, Russell said.
"We don't have any significant shoreline impact, and there's no reports of wildlife impact," he said.
Army officials said quick action by the Coast Guard and good Samaritans helped prevent greater environmental damage.
The circumstances of the Monterrey's collision are under investigation, a Coast Guard spokesman said. In the meantime, the Army is working to remove the remaining fuel from the vessel, according to the DEC and Coast Guard.