Copper River Seafoods in Recovery Mode in Cordova

A winter storm that all but brought Cordova, Alaska, to a standstill did severe damage to facilities owned by Copper River Seafoods, and the company has been busy cleaning up and assessing the damages. Pip Fillingham, a company owner who lives in Cordova, has been overseeing the work crews reinforcing company structures, cleaning up debris and securing boats and supplies stored there.

As of this week, nearly one third of one of the company’s warehouse buildings damaged by very heavy snow on the roof had been torn down. Of the 20 fishing vessels stored inside that warehouse, three boats sustained minor damage and one more severe damage, said Robin Richardson, company spokesperson. Copper River Seafoods representatives are meeting with owners of each vessel on the status of their boats and arrangements are being made on a case-by-case basis for handling and movement, she said.

Severe weather conditions that delayed the arrival of equipment have hampered the cleanup operation. Once the equipment arrives, the warehouse will be demolished and the vessels and supplies that were stored in lockers in the warehouse will be secured, she said.

In the wake of the storm, Copper River Seafoods shipped specially made snow shovels, a snow blower, a 40,000 pound front end loader and a 12-yard dump truck to Cordova to begin the cleanup.

Cordova’s harbor itself sustained only minor damage of a finger float, according to the harbormaster’s office. Owners of vessels stored there are required to have a watchman to make sure each of the vessels is secure. In the aftermath of the stormy weather dozens of people came down to the harbor to tend to their own vessels and also pitched in to remove snow from other vessels that were unattended, said Glenn Anderson, operations and maintenance supervisor at the harbor.