Towing operations underway for sunken Bristol Bay fishing vessel

Tegan Hanlon

Towing operations have begun to salvage a sunken fishing vessel that has been sitting in one of the major sockeye salmon producing rivers in Bristol Bay since late June.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Thursday that the Lone Star had been removed from the Igushik River's muddy bottom and is en route to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Shawn Eggert said the vessel had been scheduled to get to the harbor by Saturday, but due to inclement weather the Coast Guard is "hoping for early next week." A tug boat and two support vessels are towing the vessel.

Once there, either the owner will decide to keep the vessel or the Lone Star will be handed over to Resolve-Magone Marine Services to be scrapped, according to Eggert.

The salvage efforts began June 30 when the Lone Star sank near Dillingham, according to the Coast Guard, but were unsuccessful. It had been leaking diesel fuel into the Igushik River this summer. In response, the sate Department of Fish and Game had shut down a key setnet fishery and an area for drift boats.

At the time of sinking, the Lone Star was carrying 35,000 pounds of fish, 14,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 250 gallons of gasoline and 300 gallons of other petroleum products.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at or 257-4589.