As a major winter gale spirals across the Gulf of Alaska, a freighter carrying over 800 metric tons of lithium batteries is remaining anchored in the shelter of Broad Bay.
The M/V Genius Star XI remains stable, anchored near Dutch Harbor, the Coast Guard reports. No current fires are detectable in the holds after a fire broke out last week as the ship crossed the Pacific from Asia to its destination of San Diego.
Assessment teams continue to conduct air monitoring on-site and ashore. Air quality remains normal and there is no indication of heat in or around the cargo holds, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
“The Unified Command remains committed to conducting this response safely and effectively,” said Capt. Chris Culpepper, captain of the port. “Our top priority continues to be the safety of the local community, the Genius Star XI and her crew, and our response personnel. We have dedicated teams of experts who continue to monitor air quality aboard the ship and ashore, including community-based air monitoring on shore in Dutch Harbor.”
The vessel remains on a prepositioned mooring buoy for weather avoidance based on a recommendation from an Alaska Marine Pilot and the Salvage Master aboard the vessel. To comply with the ongoing Captain of the Port Order, the vessel will keep its pilothouse manned, engines warm, and have a tug standing by to respond if the situation changes.
Response resources and technical experts continue to be mobilized to the incident site but extreme weather in the vicinity of Dutch Harbor has resulted in flight delays. Members of the salvage team will remain onboard with the crew throughout the extreme weather to monitor the situation and respond as needed.
A one-mile safety zone around the vessel remains in place. Mariners who wish to enter that zone must request permission on VHF Channel 16.
The Unified Command, consisting of the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Gallagher Marine Systems, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, continues to work closely to coordinate response efforts on this incident.
An investigation into the cause will take place once response efforts are complete.