Around 1 p.m. Saturday, Coast Guard responded to a vessel that had overturned at the entrance to Crescent Harbor. The F/V Ocean Cape was refloated Monday morning. No injuries were reported in the accident. (USCG Photo)

A fishing vessel that overturned just outside of a Sitka harbor this weekend was refloated early Monday morning (3-20-23).

Around 1 p.m. on Saturday (3-18-23), the Coast Guard responded to a vessel that had capsized at the entrance to Crescent Harbor in downtown Sitka. Coast Guard Marine Science Technician Allysia Helton was at the scene. She said all four passengers on the F/V Ocean Cape managed to quickly get off the boat. No injuries were reported.

“There were quite a few members of the community that were there on scene immediately after it happened, and they helped the crew get off the vessel and make sure everything was okay,” Helton says. “And throughout the response we had lots of community members that came to the site to help out where they could. It was a really good show of small town support.”

By the time the Coast Guard arrived, the crew of the Ocean Cape was already working with a local marine salvage operator. Helton says Hanson Maritime worked to secure the boat’s fuel vents and contain spilled fuel and oil with floating booms. 

“The crews continued throughout the day to remove fuel from the tanks at low tide, and they were able to recover approximately 800 gallons of oil and oily water from the vessel between Saturday and Sunday,” Helton says.

The boat was refloated early Monday morning and returned to its stall at Crescent Harbor, with some damage to its hull that’s still being assessed. The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but Helton said weather conditions likely played a role. 

“Saturday was pretty windy,” Helton says. “From what we’ve been told it sounds like the wind played a pretty significant role in the vessel rolling over to its side.”

The F/V Ocean Cape is owned by fisherman Chris Ystad, who also serves on the Sitka Assembly. In an email to KCAW, Ystad expressed his appreciation for everyone who offered assistance at the scene and with the salvage operation.