Sunken vessel a hazard to navigation in James River; Coast Guard, other agencies responding

Posted at 5:52 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 07:56:19-04
Sunken vessel in James River (May 27).jpg
Sonar image depicting a sunken vessel on the James River in Virginia, May 27, 2021.

NORFOLK, Va. — Crews with the U.S. Coast Guard and its partner agencies are warning mariners and recreational boaters of a sunken vessel in the James River causing a hazard to navigation.

As of Thursday, officials say the channel is currently open with restrictions with the submerged hazard to navigation in position 37-25.348'N 077-23.936'W. Vessels with a draft of 20 feet or more are prohibited from transiting on the James River in Henrico between Light 158 and Light 160 without permission of the Captain of the Port.

All other vessels should use caution when moving through the area.

Coast Guard Sector Virginia watchstanders were alerted to the sunken vessel, the Sanmar, after they received notification from Henrico and Chesterfield County Fire Departments of sheening on the water.

To date, no recoverable product has been discovered, and as of Thursday, no additional sheening has been observed along the shoreline.

The Coast Guard federalized the response and accessed the Oil Spill Liability Trust fund for pollution response.

A survey conducted on Wednesday concluded that the 35-foot cabin cruiser is a hazard to navigation in the channel.

The Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and other agencies are developing a salvage plan.

Currently, officials say there are no correlating search and rescue incidents, no known missing persons or any signs of distress in the area.

Response efforts are ongoing.

If anyone has any information about the owner of the vessel or has seen the vessel before, please contact the Coast Guard Sector Virginia Command Center at 757-483-8567.

Stay with News 3 for updates.