Coast Guard Responds to Grounded Fishing Vessel on Catalina Island

A fishing vessel grounded on the east end of Catalina Island in Southern California on Sept. 15. Photo: California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response.

The Coast Guard, along with California state and local agencies, responded to a commercial fishing vessel that ran aground on Catalina Island near Los Angeles the morning of Sept. 15.

Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach watchstanders received a radio distress call around 2 a.m. from the Pacific Knight, a 62-foot commercial fishing vessel with eight people onboard, after it ran aground on the east end of the island. The boat also carried up to 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel.

A good Samaritan fishing vessel and the Baywatch Avalon Los Angeles County lifeguard station on Catalina Island first responded to the incident. Avalon Baywatch transferred one crew member suffering from mild hypothermia to awaiting emergency medical services in the town of Avalon on the island.

The remaining seven crew members were safely transferred aboard the good Samaritan vessel and transported to San Pedro, according to the Coast Guard.

After establishing a 300-yard safety zone around the vessel, the Coast Guard worked with local agency partners, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response and the responsible party to create a pollution mitigation and removal plan.   

As of press time, no wildlife impacts had been reported or observed and the cause of the incident was under investigation.

Another commercial fishing vessel named Pacific Knight capsized while at anchor in July 2018, but it was not the same vessel as the one that ran aground this past September.

The f/v in the Alaska incident capsized while at anchor about 11 miles south of Dillingham, Alaska. Two of the three crew members onboard were able to escape the vessel and were rescued by a nearby Good Samaritan fishing vessel.

The third was unable to escape and drowned.

About 1,439 gallons of fuel and 300 gallons of hydraulic oil were found onboard at the time of the sinking; an indeterminable quantity of that amount was released in the water.

That f/v Pacific Knight was declared a constructive total loss in 2019.