The Guam Daily Post

12 23Sat11282015


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Back Local News US Navy: No sign of contamination at Apra Harbor

US Navy: No sign of contamination at Apra Harbor

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THE U.S. Navy said there was no evidence of leaking contaminants resulting from the sinking of a Japanese commercial fishing vessel near the Spanish Steps beach at the entrance to Apra Harbor late last week.

According to the Navy, initial assessments of environmental impact and cleanup of the beach were completed on Friday.

Sailors from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 rescued 10 fishermen from the fishing boat Daiki Maru – earlier misidentified as a Chinese vessel – which ran aground in Apra Harbor near the Spanish Steps on Thursday night.

“As soon as we heard the news of the grounding, an environmental assessment team went out there to check for any possible damage that may have occurred to the reef or the sea turtles,” said Anne Brooke, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas conservation program manager.

Cleanup crews on the beach and on personal watercraft in the harbor collected debris all day Friday and transported it to a safe location on shore to prevent environmental damage, according to a press release from the Navy.

No evidence

“Representatives from Guam Fish and Wildlife Services, sailors from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam, and natural resources specialists from Naval Facilities Engineering Command conducted an assessment of the beach and determined that there was no evidence of leaking contaminants currently visible,” the Navy said.

Dennis Siler, Naval Base Guam Operations Manager, said the unified command made some significant first steps in mitigating the potential damage from the accident.

“Our objective as we enter the third day is to complete the safe transfer of heavy oils off the vessel which represent the greatest danger to the environment,” Siler said.

Capt. Mike Ward, commanding officer of U.S. Naval Base Guam, said the Navy will expedite the clearing process.

“Our priority right now is to protect the environmentally sensitive area but we’re also developing a salvage-and-tow plan to remove the vessel off the reef right so we can remove the hazard from the environment,” Ward said.

The 10 fishermen rescued from the waters were transported to Naval Hospital Guam for evaluation and later released.

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