Coast Guard Completes Salvage of Passenger Charter Vessel Near Santa Cruz Island

The charter passenger vessel Sea Jay after being refloated by the Coast Guard and its salvage operation partners. Photo via USCG.

The Coast Guard and the California Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) completed the salvage operation of the charter passenger vessel Sea Jay near Santa Cruz Island on June 17.

This operation included underwater assessment, re-floating, stabilization and the safe transfer of the vessel to harbor.

The removal operation followed the successful rescue of 14 people who abandoned the charter passenger vessel near Santa Cruz Island, off the coast near Los Angeles.

During the 21-hour removal operation, divers first assessed the underwater condition of the Sea Jay, gathering information to help guide the subsequent steps. Then, the team refloated the vessel using dedicated recovery vessels equipped with lift bags, dewatering equipment and custom rigging.

After the refloating, the next priority was stabilizing the vessel to prevent further damage or sinking. Once stabilized, the Sea Jay was moved away from Santa Cruz Island to ensure the safety of the local environment.

The vessel was then relocated to a safe harbor, where any goods aboard were offloaded.

Observers spotted a sheen near the fully submerged and anchored vessel. The vessel’s diesel fuel tanks have a total capacity of 220 gallons, according to state law enforcement incident investigators.

“Our partnerships played a crucial role in the swift response and safe recovery and removal of the vessel. At no time during any phase of the operation were recoverable hydrocarbons present,” Capt. Ryan Manning, the federal on-scene coordinator said. “These actions have successfully mitigated any potential threat to public health and the environment.”

The Coast Guard, OSPR and all participating agencies have concluded recovery operations. As of press time, the cause of the incident was still under investigation.