Ocean Beauty Seafoods still plans to run its Petersburg plant this summer despite this week’s ferry accident. According to Vice president of Marketing Tom Sunderland, the company hopes to make repairs in time or find a way to work around the damaged dock.
“We don’t know the full extent of the damage and we might not for a few days, but we’ve already discussed, at least the plant managers have discussed amongst themselves, discussed potential workarounds for what to do in case some portion of the dock is not usable. They’re still going to be able to operate.,” he said.
The Alaska Marine Highway and the Coast Guard are still investigating what caused the the 408-foot Ferry Matanuska to crash bow-first into the Ocean Beauty dock early Monday afternoon. According to a state spokesperson, the south-bound vessel had been maneuvering for its approach to the Ferry terminal at the time. There was a strong, incoming tide at its stern.
No one was injured, but the impact smashed in a significant section of the wood and concrete dock as well as the face of the processing plant. One of the company’s cranes fell most of the way through the damaged dock, where debris hung loose above broken pilings.
Sunderland said on Tuesday that the company was still assessing the damage.
“We haven’t been able to complete the damage assessment because we haven’t been able to get completely under the dock yet. There’s still some material that’s potentially dangerous. So, we have a boat going in there to work on that and as soon as all the potential danger is removed from what might be under there, then we’ll be able to complete the assessment,” he said.
In a news release Tuesday, Marine Highway officials offered apologies to Ocean Beauty and credited the Matanuska’s crewmembers for taking proper action after the accident. They said they found no significant damage to the vessel, though her bow was visibly dented and scraped. The Coast Guard cleared the vessel to continue its voyage a few hours after Monday’s incident.