Friday, October 16, 2015

USCG Removes Fuel from Derelict Tug

By Mark Edward Nero

The US Coast Guard, Washington State Department of Ecology and Global Diving & Salvage removed petroleum products from the tug Vigorous at Ballard Oil Co. in the Lake Washington Ship Canal on Oct. 13 after the derelict vessel was thought to be in danger of sinking.

The Vigorous, whose owner could not be contacted by the Coast Guard, had an estimated 20,000 gallons of oily bilge waste and an unknown amount of product in the fuel tanks, according to the USCG.

The Coast Guard Incident Management Division from Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received notification Oct. 8 of a possible sinking and presumably derelict vessel after Ballard Oil personnel noticed the tug was sitting abnormally low in the water.

USCG Puget Sound incident management crewmembers conducted a pollution assessment of the vessel and found a significant amount of oily water in the engine room, but the tug was determined not to be in danger of sinking. A containment boom was placed around the vessel.

“Our first priority is to remove all of the hazardous materials from the vessel,” Petty Officer 2nd Class Nick Debrum, marine science technician with the Incident Management Division, explained. “Doing so will prevent any pollutants from leaving the vessel and decrease the risk of any harm coming to the environment.”

The USCG says money from the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund was used to cover costs associated with the recovery efforts.