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Shipwreck Ann Kathleen is accumulating sand, requiring excavation

Shipwreck Ann Kathleen is accumulating sand, requiring excavation.

BANDON — Cleanup has begun to remove debris left by the wreck of the Ann Kathleen, a 64-foot fishing vessel. The boat came ashore May 2 after catching fire. No one was injured.

During cleanup, visitor parking and boat ramp access at Boice-Cope County Park several miles to the south will be restricted.

Several entities responded initially — including the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, U.S. Coast Guard and a representative of the boat’s private insurer — to remove more than 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel from the craft’s fuel tanks. The current team — OPRD, the insurer, Coquille Indian Tribe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Global Dive and Salvage, Inc. out of Seattle — expect to begin removing as much of the ship’s remains as possible over the next several days.

According to a press release Friday from OPRD, significant portions of the hull, mast and mechanical components are on the beach. Sand has already started to accumulate around the wreckage, requiring excavation before the wreck can be cut up and airlifted by helicopter to the Cape Blanco Airport eight miles south. The work is being funded by the ship’s insurer. Some portion of the wreck may be left buried deep on the shore if conditions make removal too difficult, the press release stated.

Staff will be keeping a constant eye on the federally-protected western snowy plover and other sensitive resources as the work progresses. The need to protect active nests and public safety in the area is compelling the rapid response.

The wreck is several miles from a developed beach access and receives few visitors this time of year. Anyone visiting should give the work site a wide berth, watch for vehicles on the beach, and respect the plover nesting area by sticking to the wet sand. More information on plovers is online at https://bit.ly/wsplover.

A small amount of lightweight debris from the wreck has spread several miles south. Beach visitors south of the signed plover nesting area can help by carrying trash bags and gloves on any visit and leaving the beach cleaner than they found it.

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