The $200,000 propeller which fell off the "Aratere" has been hauled off the Cook Strait seabed on Dec 10. Seaworks successfully raised the propeller two nautical miles from Tory Channel, where the shaft broke on Nov 5, by using four strops fitted around the blades of the propeller and part of the shaft via a remote controlled underwater vehicle. The "Brandywine", a small former US military landing craft, winched the 6.5 tonne propeller and shaft from the seabed 123 metres below the surface, Transport Accident Investigation Commission investigators were expected to take possession of and transport the propeller to a Seaview workshop when the salvage vessel returned to Wellington Harbour on Dec 11 morning. The vessel was heading down Queen Charlotte Sound with the propeller about eight metres underneath the hull. It was to be craned up on to the deck in Picton about 6 a.m. Weather conditions were almost perfect for the lift, with a light southerly breeze and a three-quarter metre seaswell.
As the "Brandywine" headed to Picton the "Aratere" was completing its first single-engine freight-only round trip between Wellington and Picton. It sailed from Picton just before 9 a.m. and was in Wellington Harbour shortly before 3 p.m.
Report with photo:
Fishermen affected by the "Lone Star" sinking and saw their fishing season halted have filed a civil lawsuit. They're seeking reimbursement not only for income lost during the closure, but also for damaged setnets and cabins that they alleged were destroyed by bears that flocked to shore, where salmon waste was pumped into the sea by the crews salvaging the "Lone Star". The complaint was filed on Dec 4 in Dillingham. 20 plaintiffs were named in the civil suit. The suit contended first that the "Lone Star" sank due to negligence and recklessness of the crew. It alleged the "Lone Star" produced an oil spill that contaminated Bristol Bay and it said the salvage crew employed by Magone Marine Service and Resolve Marine Group dumped the decaying remains of 35,000 pounds of salmon out of the sunken vessel into the ocean and Igushik River near the site where the ship was raised. Commercial fishing in the Igushik River was closed for the rest of the season, as the vessel slowly leaked fuel. Also onboard the ship was that salmon cargo, which sat decomposing in frigid waters for more than two months. By the time the fish was pumped from the ship, it was the consistency of soup. The discharge plan was reviewed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the National Marine Fisheries Service and was approved with certain conditions. Among them, the slurry had to be pumped when the tide was heading out to sea, and when no marine mammals or large numbers of waterfowl were in the area.
After the "Lone Star" was raised, it stayed in the Igushik River for about two weeks before being towed 600 miles south to Dutch Harbor,. After that, salvage crews did significant work on the shorelines around the area, cleaning up any debris left behind after the salvage operation. State wildlife officials confirmed that bear activity along the river increased this autumn, but they could find no correlation between the bears roaming the shores and the "Lone Star" salvage operations. The suit named the defendants as the vessel owner, Charles Burrece; five unnamed vessel operators; Trident Seafood Corporation, for whom Burrece worked; Magone Marine Services and its owner, Daniel Magone, as well as the Resolve Marine Group, which during the salvage purchased Magone Marine. In addition to any possible lost income over the summer, plaintiffs were also seeking damages for possible loss of potential future income including subsistence foods, cultural activities and damage to real and personal property.