Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Weather permitting, Deep Sea to leave Penn Cove at 5 a.m., June 6

By Larry Altose, Ecology public information

The 140-foot fishing vessel Deep Sea, raised from the bottom of Penn Cove June 3, is ready to depart, depending on weather conditions.

Winds forecast for today could push wave heights to 4 feet, while safe towing conditions require waves under 3 feet.Tomorrow’s forecast predicts calmer conditions, and the Deep Sea’s tentative departure time is 5 a.m.The tug Taurus will move the vessel.

U.S. Coast Guard and Washington Department of Ecology officials yesterday determined that the Deep Sea presents no substantial threat of an oil spill.The Coast Guard today approved a tow plan for the vessel’s trip to Seattle.

The Taurus and Deep Sea will proceed at up to 6 knots, or about 7 mph. The Deep Sea could reach the Chittenden Locks in Seattle by early afternoon.The Taurus will deliver the Deep Sea to the Stabbert Yacht and Ship dry dock in Ballard for dismantling.

The larger of the two floating cranes that lifted the Deep Sea left Penn Cove late yesterday.The Deep Sea then moored to the smaller crane barge.

Meanwhile, environmental cleanup crews have started wrapping up efforts to remove oil from the water immediately surrounding the Deep Sea. They also began to remove some of the 5,700 feet of oil-spill containment boom and cleanup materials deployed for the lifting.The crews have conducted these operations since the vessel sank May 13 after a fire.

A multi-agency unified command is coordinating the recovery effort. The command comprises the Coast Guard, Ecology and Island County. Assisting in the response are the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Global Diving & Salvage Inc. (Global) and NRC-Environmental Services (NRC-ES).

Island County’s departments of Emergency Management and Public Works, and the Island County Sheriff’s Office, are providing local support to the response effort.

The unified command also receives assistance from the Washington departments of Health (WDOH) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and helicopter service from the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO).

The state Health Department closed all shellfish harvesting in Penn Cove on May 15. The closure will remain in effect until testing confirms shellfish from the area are safe to eat.

The Coast Guard has established a marine safety zone on waters within 200 yards of the Deep Sea. Vessels seeking to enter that zone must request permission from the Coast Guard's Joint Harbor Operation Center at 206-217-6001 or from on-scene patrol craft on VHF radio channel 13.

For more information:

Fishing Vessel Deep Sea Fire and Diesel Spill: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/incidents/FVdeepsea/index.html

Ecology's Spills Program: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/spills.html

Ecology’s social media: www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html

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