Words of thanks for the Aleutian Isle response team

Posted September 22, 2022 at 5:22 pm by

Photo credit: Global Diving & Salvage

Bren­dan Cow­an from the San Juan Coun­ty Depart­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment shares his appre­ci­a­tion for all of the peo­ple involved in the Aleut­ian Isle recov­ery efforts.

After 40 days of chal­leng­ing and com­plex work, the Aleut­ian Isle has been lift­ed ful­ly out of the water and onto a barge for trans­port to mainland.

The islands are so appre­cia­tive of the large team of peo­ple that made this hap­pen and are grate­ful the oper­a­tion hap­pened with­out seri­ous injury to any responder.

Despite this effort per­haps appear­ing sim­ple at first glance, it is dif­fi­cult to con­vey the scale and com­plex­i­ty of what occurred and the chal­lenges faced along the way.

First, thanks to Glob­al Div­ing & Sal­vage, Inc. The inge­nu­ity, courage, and per­se­ver­ance of their team, along with the Man­son Marine Con­struc­tion crew, was remark­able to wit­ness. US Ecol­o­gy capa­bly han­dled much of the on-water pol­lu­tion con­trol, with the help of Mar­ty Cheva­lier and his crew, the Islands’ Oil Spill Asso­ci­a­tion, Deb Fritz and Tow­Boa­tUS out of Fri­day Har­bor, and Pin­tail Marine.

Focus Wildlife’s team spent days and days on the water help­ing to min­i­mize wildlife impacts, and a whole team of local marine mam­mal experts from the Whale Muse­um, SeaD­oc, and oth­ers were on the water or on call through­out to help with orca mon­i­tor­ing and deterrence.

The local com­mu­ni­ty real­ly stepped up, hous­ing and feed­ing respon­ders and show­ing island hos­pi­tal­i­ty to respon­ders who spent more than a month away from their homes and fam­i­lies to sup­port the response. In par­tic­u­lar, Can­dace Rags­dale and the rest of the team at Roche Har­bor were remark­able with their sup­port amidst their busiest time of year. San Juan Island Fire & Res­cue shared bunk space with respon­ders and Fri­day Har­bor Labs went above and beyond with find­ing sleep­ing space. Many oth­er local hotels and rental oper­a­tors worked extra hard to accom­mo­date the team.

Last but not least, a huge thank you to our agency part­ners who lit­er­al­ly embed­ded them­selves in our com­mu­ni­ty over this response. The U.S. Coast Guard Pacif­ic North­west has had staff on-island from day one, and they’ve tru­ly been a plea­sure to work with. Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Ecol­o­gy’s team has been a calm and steady pres­ence and their field staff have dropped every­thing in their lives to mobi­lize to the island. The Wash­ing­ton Depart­ment of Fish & Wildlife team were com­mit­ted and high­ly com­pe­tent. Swinomish Tribe has strong­ly sup­port­ed this effort from the begin­ning and their patrol boats have been a steady pres­ence on the water. Nation­al Ocean­ic and Atmos­pher­ic Admin­is­tra­tion sci­en­tists have sup­port­ed with weath­er and tidal mod­el­ing, and Cana­di­an respon­ders from the Coast Guard and Fish­eries and Oceans have pro­vid­ed expert sup­port as well.

And final­ly, I want to men­tion that the own­ers of the ves­sel have been vest­ed and com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing this response from the very begin­ning. A com­mon and under­stand­able reac­tion fol­low­ing a cri­sis of any kind is to find some­one to blame or vil­i­fy, and while an inves­ti­ga­tion is ongo­ing, rest assured that the local Wash­ing­ton fam­i­ly that owns this boat has been dev­as­tat­ed by the reper­cus­sions but 100 per­cent devot­ed to the response.

There is always a dan­ger when com­pil­ing lists of leav­ing some­one vital off — and to those I have, just know that the work that went into this was a true tes­ta­ment to the amaz­ing things that hap­pen when good peo­ple put their minds and hearts to some­thing and work smooth­ly togeth­er to achieve it. Thank you one and all!

You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.

Categories: Around Here

No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0