On June 21st, 2023

CDFW and Coast Guard Conduct Removal Operations of Sunken Passenger Vessel Following Rescue Near Santa Cruz Island

“We are grateful for CDFW and the Coast Guard for their ability to respond to emergency rescues followed by the recovery of sunken vessels.  They have a vital role in saving lives and protecting our water from contamination that can harm our environment and fish and wildlife.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — On June 16, 2023, the United States Coast Guard announced that it, along with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), initiated a removal operation following the successful rescue of 14 people who abandoned the charter passenger vessel Sea Jay near Santa Cruz Island.

During the 21-hour removal operation, divers planned to first assess the underwater condition of the Sea Jay, gathering crucial information to help guide the subsequent steps. Once assessed, the team planned to refloat the vessel using dedicated recovery vessels equipped with lift bags, dewatering equipment, and custom rigging. After successfully refloating, the next priority would be to stabilize the vessel to prevent any further damage or sinking. Once stabilized, the Sea Jay would be moved away from Santa Cruz Island to ensure the safety of the local environment. The vessel would then be relocated to a safe harbor, where any products aboard the Sea Jay would be offloaded. Throughout this complex operation, the U.S. Coast Guard and California OSPR l prioritize the safety of the divers, the efficiency of the operation, and the minimization of environmental impact.

Observers spotted a sheen near the fully submerged and anchored vessel. The vessel's diesel fuel tanks have a total capacity of 220 gallons.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.


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