Story last updated at 1:32 p.m. Thursday, November 14, 2002

Crews hurry to mop up wreck on Afognak beach
Sepp Jannotta

CLEANUP CREWS under contract with the U.S. Coast Guard are working on the wreck of the Genei Maru No. 7, a 97-foot squid jigger containing an estimated 20,000 gallons of diesel that drifted ashore on an Afognak Island beach some time last weekend. The vessel caught fire and was abandoned by its Japanese crew in May outside of U.S. waters in the Gulf of Alaska. According to a Coast Guard press release, the hold might also contain dangerous fumes, such as hydrogen sulfide and methane gasses, produced as the squid deteriorated over the summer. The Coast Guard and a salvage team from Crowley Marine in Seward have been carefully watching the weather. They hope to remove the vessel's fuel, oils and hydraulic fluids before it is ground to pieces on the beach's rocks. KK Yamatsu, the Japanese firm that owned the Genei Maru No. 7, told U.S. officials that it would pay for the cleanup. Company officials said the crew believed it sank shortly after the fire, but the Coast Guard Command Center in Juneau had received reports of periodic sightings of the vessel over the course of the summer. The last position reported was in the Gulf of Alaska/North Pacific Ocean on Oct. 15.

CRAB RATIONALIZATION for the Bering Sea and other federal fishing legislation will likely not reach a vote, as a lame duck U.S. Congress scrambles this week to move President Bush's homeland security agenda. According to some senators, even appropriations bills will likely be put off until next year, with a vote to continue spending at this year's levels expected.

THE NORTH PACIFIC FISHERIES Management Council will to discuss Gulf of Alaska groundfish and Bering Sea crab rationalization efforts, as well as regulatory issues during its Dec. 4-9 meetings in Anchorage.