Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ecology, Coast Guard assist grounded fishing vessel in the San Juans

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager

Responders from the state Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the U.S. Coast Guard are overseeing the removal of fuel from a fishing vessel that ran aground early today (Tuesday, June 7) on Patos Island in the San Juan Islands.

The Ruby Lily, a 50-foot commercial fishing vessel, ran aground on the south side of Patos Island at about 1:30 a.m. today. One person was on board at the time. The boat received some minor damage and is listing, but responders do not believe it is in danger of sinking.

The Ruby Lily is carrying about 4,500 gallons of diesel fuel. Less than a gallon of heavier oil is believed to have leaked into the water, but the vessel is completely surrounded by hard boom at this time. The plan is to remove fuel from Ruby Lily by pumping it into a vacuum truck brought to the scene on a barge, then float the vessel and check its stability.

The Coast Guard initially hired contractor Vessel Assist using the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. The fund, managed by the Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center, was opened to cover the costs of refloating, salvaging and any required cleanup due to the fishing vessel Ruby Lily.

The Coast Guard's National Pollution Funds Center was created to implement Title I of the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), which addressed issues associated with preventing, responding to and paying for oil pollution. Title I of OPA established oil spill liability and compensation requirements, including the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, to pay for expeditious oil removal and uncompensated damages.

The boat’s owner has taken on the cost of the operation and has hired Global Diving and Salvage Co., Vessel Assist and Islands' Oil Spill Association, a non-profit oil spill response organization that operates in the San Juans.

Coast Guard and Ecology responders will remain on site during the fuel removal and the floating of the Ruby Lily.

Check online for more information about Ecology’s Spills Program.

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