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Extraction team in place to remove sunken ship off San Juan Island

Salvage of the sunken fishing vessel, the Aleutian Isle, off San Juan Island is about to begin, but the Coast Guard says conditions could affect how long it takes.

The U.S. Coast Guard says Global Diving arrived with a barge and a crane, which will be used to lift the sunken vessel out of the water.

The Coast Guard says removing the boat might take ten days, however, weather and tides can affect the length of time.

“Weather and tidal currents will limit their window for safely diving the wreck each day,” the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement.

“Dive operations can only be safely conducted during optimal conditions. These include above-surface weather, water currents, tidal swings and other factors. The safety of responders and supporting personnel remains the Unified Command’s top priority.”

They add dive operations include removing hazardous debris and securing a safe dive site, checking the boat’s structural integrity and securing fuel tank vents to keep more pollutants from entering the water.

An over 900-metre safety zone is in place around the dive site and a flight restriction extends up to and including 243-metres above.

The Aleutian Isle first sunk in mid-August, bringing down nearly 10,000 litres of diesel and oil.

Since then, U.S. Coast Guard crews have been placing booms to contain the oil spill and monitor southern resident killer whales in case they get too close.

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