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Efforts underway to prevent cruise ship Aurora from sinking, spilling fuel into San Joaquin County waters

Latest on sinking ship leaking oil into San Joaquin Delta
Latest on sinking ship leaking oil into San Joaquin Delta 02:53

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY – Crews are working to prevent a 300-foot decommissioned cruise ship that is docked in San Joaquin County waters from sinking and spilling fuel. 

The sheriff's office said the ship Aurora was sinking near Herman and Helen's, in the area of Empire Tract and Eight Mile Road, on Wednesday morning after it suffered a hole and began taking on water. 

The ship was also leaking diesel fuel and oil into the Delta Waterway.

"There are some older boats out here, some abandoned boats out here, so this situation, I don't want to say it's very common," said Heather Brent with the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office. 

aurora cruise ship sinking
The Aurora is slowly sinking into the Delta.  Drone13

The San Joaquin County Boating Safety Unit and other ground units are at the scene trying to coordinate efforts to contain the spill.

Cal OES, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Coast Guard Pollution Response Team have been contacted.

"For our initial inspection of the area, we didn't see any wildlife has been affected, but we want to make sure it stays that way," Brent said. 

Crews will be at the scene through the Memorial Day weekend and the Coast Guard has established a water safety zone around the ship.

Operations throughout the weekend will consist of maintaining the containment boom, recovering pollution and doing dive surveys. 

Officials said the ship is in the same location where a tugboat sank and leaked diesel fuel and oil in September 2023. 

The Aurora, which has been credited as an inspiration for the hit '70s TV show "The Love Boat," has been moored near Stockton for some time now. Along with its "Love Boat" connection, the Aurora also appeared in the 1963 James Bond film "From Russia with Love." 

People are urged to avoid the area where the Aurora is sinking. 

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