Feds sue 'Bering Sea Gold' star over costs of retrieving sunken vessel in Cordova

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The federal government filed a civil lawsuit on Monday against a gold dredge captain who has appeared on Discovery Channel's "Bering Sea Gold," alleging he refused to take care of his 117-foot landing craft that sank in the Cordova harbor.

Federal prosecutors say it cost $1.6 million to recover the watercraft Sound Developer. The vessel leaked fuel into harbor waters and was littered with debris, according to a civil complaint. More than 450 gallons of various oils were spilled, reported the U.S. Coast Guard.

The government is asking for a judgment against John Mehelich for removal costs plus interest, among other cash penalties.

Mehelich bought the steel-hulled boat, originally built in 1960, a decade ago and moored it at the Cordova harbor's H dock. A civil complaint states that "the vessel eventually became an unauthorized dump site for waste oil and other debris because defendant Mehelich left the vessel unattended and unsecured."