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20 people evacuated from Western Prince; leak stopped by Vessel Assist

Twenty passengers were transferred off the Western Prince after it took on water in Cattle Pass today. The leak was stopped but the passengers were transferred as a precaution. This photo is a file photo. - File photo
Twenty passengers were transferred off the Western Prince after it took on water in Cattle Pass today. The leak was stopped but the passengers were transferred as a precaution. This photo is a file photo.
— image credit: File photo

BULLETIN: Vessel Assist has stopped the leak on the Western Prince. Passengers are being transferred to the Sea Lion, San Juan Safaris' boat, and they will be brought to Friday Harbor.

Correspondent Russell Sadler, monitoring marine radio Channel 16, said the packing gland in the stuffing box, where the shaft goes through the hull, failed and the boat started taking on a large amount of water.

"The leak is stopped and they are probably not going to lose the boat," Sadler reported. "They are in the process of transferring the 20 passengers to the Sea Lion, which will bring them back to Friday Harbor."

Earlier report: The Western Prince, a Friday Harbor-based whale-watch vessel, is reportedly taking on water in Cattle Pass.

Twenty people are expected to be evacuated from the vessel. The Friday Harbor Fire Boat Confidence was en route to the scene at about 1:15 p.m.

The Western Prince II is 46 feet in length and cruises at up to 21 knots, according to the Western Prince Wildlife & Whale Watch Tours Web site. The USCG-certified twin-engine vessel was originally built as an ocean-going charter boat. Guest counts are limited to 32 but there's seating for 41.

Correspondent Russell Sadler, listening to marine radio Channel 16, said the Sea Lion will be taking passengers off. Brian Goodremont is reportedly the relief skipper of the Sea Lion.

Journal reporter Scott Rasmussen said the Western Prince is located in Cattle Pass about a half-mile north of the entrance to Griffin Bay, closer to Lopez Island than San Juan. Four boats are at the scene.

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