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Superintendent Statement: Grounded Vessel Safely Removed from Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Superintendent Statement
August 17th, 2018


Contact: Karen Grimmer, Resource Protection Coordinator (831) 236-6535
  Sarah Marquis, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries West Coast/Pacific Media Coordinator (949) 222-2212


Today, NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) announced completion of the second phase of the emergency response and salvage removal of a 56-foot commercial fishing vessel that ran aground on August 12 with a maximum potential capacity of 1,200 gallons of diesel aboard near Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz, California.

image of fishing vessel Pacific Quest run aground in Santa Cruz

On August 13, the U.S. Coast Guard, MBNMS, California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Office of Spill Prevention and Response, UC Santa Cruz, and Monterey and Santa Cruz County Fire Departments, operating in a unified command, completed the first phase removal of diesel fuel from the vessel, Pacific Quest. More than 720 gallons of diesel were removed from the vessel and approximately 200 gallons were discharged into the sanctuary, but no oil sheen has been observed on site.

image of terns on debris from fishing vessel Pacific Quest grounding in Santa Cruz

After the fuel removal was completed, MBNMS served as the lead federal agency on the salvage of the vessel to minimize impacts to the public and the marine environment, as the vessel debris field was extensive and expanded along the shoreline and into the nearshore kelp forest. The wreck site is located next to a state marine reserve and near a harbor seal haul out. To date, there have been no reports of impacted wildlife.

close up image of fishing vessel Pacific Quest run aground in Santa Cruz

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s response team coordinated the vessel removal efforts, working closely with the vessel owner representative. Parker Diving Service was contracted to remove the vessel fuel and conduct shoreline clean up. Global Diving and Salvage removed the wreck from the beach site, including boat engines, generators and heavy machinery, while Monterey Bay Diving was contracted for shoreline and offshore clean-up, assisted by Tow Boat U.S., Santa Cruz.

Incidents such as this highlight the value of well-coordinated efforts to manage the environmental response and clean-up of vessel groundings and sinkings. Sanctuary staff assess natural resource threats and damage caused by vessel causalities and work with other federal, state and local agencies and groups to ensure a safe and rapid response to protect sanctuary resources.

In working with California Coastal Commission, the sanctuary will coordinate with the vessel’s owner on a plan to ensure that all debris, both onshore and offshore, have been sufficiently removed.

Paul Michel, Superintendent
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

URL:    Reviewed: July 03, 2019
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