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Sunken ship leaks marine diesel

Fuel tanks empty as vessel carrying 250 gallons sinks in US West Coast.





Updated on 23 Feb 2009 09:39 GMT

Divers confirmed on Saturday, February 21st that fuel tanks inside a sunken vessel in Orcas Island,'s West Sound, Washington sate, are empty. The spill response led by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the U.S. Coast Guard is now ramping down.

The vessel is reported to have been carrying 250 gallons of marine diesel on board before it sank on Friday. Most of the fuel was consumed in the fire with approximatelty 50 gallons spilling into the water, according to Carl Andersen, an Ecology spill responder.

Although an oil sheen is still visible, responders consider the remaining diesel to be unrecoverable. The responders will remove the oil spill containment boom when they believe absorbent pads are no longer taking up new oil.

Responders said that they did not expect the marine diesel to reach the coastline.

The sunken vessel is the 47-foot Coho, owned by Peter McCorison of Eastsound. It was moored at West Sound Marina on Friday afternoon when it caught fire, broke from its mooring, drifted away and eventually sank. The Coast Guard Cutter Blue Shark, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Everett, was in the area and responded to the fire and was able to extinguish it.

The initial containment boom the cleanup contractor placed around the spill came from one of the oil spill caches that Ecology has strategically placed around Puget Sound. The emergency supply of oil spill materials was stored at nearby Deer Harbor.

The Coast Guard conducted an over flight on Friday night to view the extent of the spill. Ecology then requested Washington State Patrol to conduct an over flight of the spill to use infrared technology to assess the success of the containment boom that circled the spill scene.

The burned vessel eventually sank in 57 feet of water. Although there was no spill initially, a rainbow sheen of diesel fuel from the vessel developed and grew throughout the afternoon. Earlier Saturday, responders observed a sheen that was approximately one mile long and 200 yards wide moving north.

Island Oil Spill Association, Ballard Diving and Orcas Island and Friday Harbor Fire Departments assisted the incident response.






Related Links:

Fuel spill incident in Puget Sound
Alaska ferry in oil spill incident
Marine polluter fined $15,000 for oil spill
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