Coast Guard Works on Plan to Get ‘Spirit of Sacramento’ Out of Delta

BETHEL ISLAND -- A once iconic ship around Old Sacramento has now sunk in the Sacramento Delta near Bethel Island.

While the Coast Guard tries to figure out how to pull the Spirit of Sacramento out, we're told the ship's owner is nowhere to be found.

"It was a gorgeous boat inside, it's a shame to see it go like this," said Mac Becker, who said the ship's owner allowed him to go on board a week ago.

The owner told Becker he bought the ship for just $1,000 at a federal auction within the last month. But Becker could tell he was having problems.

"They had just garbage in there, the maintenance wasn't up on it, they should have maintained it and they just didn't do it," Becker told FOX40.

"Today the focus has been putting divers down in the water to assess the situation and look at the vessel from under water," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Nicole Evans.

The Coast Guard has contracted Global Diving and Salvage to come up with a plan to remove the ship, a cost now put on taxpayers since the Coast Guard cannot find the boat's owner.

"That's why we opened the oil spill liability trust fund, we want to get out there as soon as possible to mitigate the environment impacts and to get the boom in place and get the salvage company out there," Evans said.

The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office said it cited the ship's owner Friday for operating an undocumented vessel. But at the time, deputies say the ship was not taking on water. Now the sheriff's office is helping the Coast Guard located the owner.

"The guy was real nice, last week. Besides having all their garbage around, it was a very nice boat," said Becker.

Lt. Evans said the Coast Guard does not have a time table on when they'll be able to remove the ship from the waters.

"We put boom around the entire vessel to keep the (oil) sheen contained," Evans said.

"Story was nobody would give them a berth out this way, and I don't know why," Becker said.

He told FOX40 it appeared the owner was living on the ship.

"The inside of it was really nice, besides their clutter that was there, just garbage... Like everything, the bar, the dance floor, it was just nice. It could have been a real kick ass restaurant or something you know?"

But Becker believes the Spirit of Sacramento wasn't put in the right hands.

"Just auction anything off to anybody so people, you know, who are inexperienced with big boats like that, it's the way it goes," Becker said.