Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

107-year-old Nightingale sinks at harbor


By Tom Morphet

Fishermen and volunteers used six, 55-gallon drums as bladders Monday night to refloat the 40-foot fishing vessel Nightingale that sank at the Small Boat Harbor during the weekend.

Owner and shipwright Joey Jacobson, who is restoring the 107-year-old wooden vessel, said a malfunctioning bilge pump likely caused the boat to go down late Sunday or early Monday. It was afloat at 2 p.m. Sunday, he said.

The Nightingale was discovered Monday submerged and tied to the “E” float, on the harbor’s east end.

The vessel had no engine or fuel tank, said Phil Benner, Haines Borough harbormaster. A sheen on the harbor surface Monday was from perhaps about five gallons of fuel “that was residual from what had been on the boat before,” Benner said. He said he reported the incident to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Jacobson surrounded the vessel with a boom and used sorbent pads to collect oil on the surface around the boat.

A Monday afternoon attempt to raise the boat, including using hoists off the fishing boats Rustler and Standy, failed. A second attempt succeeded using chain winches instead of hydraulic ones and positioning them to pull straight up rather than at an angle, Jacobson said.

Jacobson is a wooden boatbuilder who has built or restored several vessels. The Nightingale, built as a seine vessel but most recently operated as a troller, was the third to sink in the harbor in little more than a year.


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