By Mark Edward Nero
The 125-foot, 300 gross ton ex-research vessel Hero partially sank at the pier in Bay Center near Willapa Bay, Washington this week.
On Monday, March 6, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River personnel were notified of the sunken vessel, and Coast Guard personnel alongside the Washington Department of Ecology personnel responded to assess any pollution risks.
A light sheening was reported, and response crews deployed sorbent booms and pads around the vessel to contain any residual product.
The Coast Guard has now opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in the amount of $25,000 to minimize pollution potential from the incident. The trust fund was utilized to contract Global Diving and Salvage resulting in the removal of more than 70 gallons of diesel fuel and lube oil from the vessel on Tuesday, March 7.
Coast Guard and the Department of Ecology personnel say they plan to continue monitoring the vessel for any further pollution.
Hero, which is named after the sloop that Nathaniel Palmer sailed when he sighted Antarctica, operated in Antarctica for the National Science Foundation between 1968 and 1984, after which she was laid up.