State Settles with Diving Exploration Company Over Fate of Historic Sunken Steamship SS Aleutian
December 5, 2005
(Anchorage) - Attorney General David Márquez announced today that the state has settled a federal lawsuit with Shoreline Adventures, LLC, involving the fate of the SS Aleutian, an 1898 steamship that sank off the coast of Kodiak in 1929. The Aleutian sank in 220 feet of water and lodged on the seafloor intact.
"I commend the efforts of both parties to resolve this lawsuit in a responsible manner that benefits the interests of Shoreline and the state," said Márquez. "This settlement will allow Shoreline to conduct dives to this historical shipwreck while protecting the vessel and its contents as an archaeological site and ensuring that the environment will be protected and preserved."
Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, the parties agreed that:
- Shoreline will not conduct any expeditions to the S.S. ALEUTIAN directed at the recovery of archaeological materials without first submitting a plan of recovery for any artifacts to the state Office of History and Archaeology (OHA)
- When OHA approves a plan of recovery it will issue an archaeological field permit to Shoreline for a recovery operation
- Shoreline will be required to prepare an assessment of environmental risk of an oil release emanating from the S.S. ALEUTIAN prior to conducting any recovery expeditions to the shipwreck site
- OHA shall use its best efforts to facilitate the circulation of Shorelines' environmental assessment and potential remediation to the state to facilitate Shoreline's efforts to apply for any necessary permits and/or to show compliance with applicable state and federal regulations
- In the event that Shoreline elects not to conduct further archaeological recovery on the S.S. ALEUTIAN site, Shoreline shall prepare a Final Report of Archaeological Investigations on the S.S. ALEUTIAN and submit it to OHA.
"Both the State of Alaska and my client have worked diligently to resolve our competing interests to share this remarkable find with the world," said Peter Hess, counsel for Shoreline Adventures, LLC. "I believe this settlement protects an important aspect of Alaska's past and allows my client to serve as a window to share that past with the rest of the world."
This lawsuit began in 2003. The agreement dismisses the current appeal in the Ninth Circuit and allows the U.S. District Court to maintain jurisdiction over the shipwreck to monitor the terms of this settlement.
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