March 11, 2021
MARIN COUNTY, Calif. – The Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Marin County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary continued to respond as a unified command Thursday, March 11, to the grounded 90-foot vessel American Challenger north of Dillon Beach.
Marine survey operations remain suspended due to safety concerns regarding accessing the American Challenger. The Unified Command continues to monitor the situation.
An environmental shoreline assessment team re-convened to conduct surveys in the area. Minor sheening was reported in the immediate vicinity of the vessel, but not in any other locations.
Boom was deployed to protect sensitive habitats, including oyster beds in Tomales Bay, as a precautionary measure. Teams have been on site to monitor the boom and the Coast Guard is broadcasting a safety marine information bulletin to inform the public of booming operations in Tomales Bay.
There have been reports of brown foam washing up along the beach, which have been assessed as normal biological material and not oil product.
Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders were notified Friday of the American Challenger being towed southward by the Tug Hunter when the Tug Hunter lost propulsion due to a rope entangling the propeller.
The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Hawksbill crew arrived on scene but due to weather conditions, the proximity to shore and the unknown structural integrity of the unmanned vessel, the crew could not safely board the American Challenger to connect a tow line. At 1 a.m. the vessel grounded on a rocky shoreline near Dillon Beach.
All beaches remain open. Miller Boat Launch is temporarily closed due to response operations, but will be open on Friday.
There have been no confirmed reports of oiled wildlife. If oiled wildlife is seen, the public is asked not to approach and contact the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at 1-877-823-6926.
There are no impacts to commercial traffic or scheduled marine events at this time.
The response is currently being funded by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Federal assumption does not relieve the owner of their financial responsibilities and they may be liable for the cost of any response actions undertaken by the United States Government.
Media inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
A virtual open house for the public is scheduled for Saturday, March 13th, from 2:00pm – 4:00pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87996831064
Below is the link to the American Challenger Response Public Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AmericanChallengerResponsePublicSurvey