Spill contained from boat that sank in Port Townsend
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
The Gweduc I was raised early Thursday at the Port of Port Townsend Boat Haven.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — A spill from a 31-foot boat with a 180-gallon diesel-fuel capacity that sank Wednesday next to a dock at the Port of Port Townsend Boat Haven has been contained, port personnel said Thursday.

“We used three levels of boom,” said Port Director Larry Crockett of the material used to contain and absorb oil spills.

“Whatever we didn't get will evaporate [Thursday].”

About 50 gallons of fuel had been recovered by Thursday, said Linda Kent, state Department of Ecology spokeswoman.

Kent said a final amount will be listed in an Ecology report, expected in a few weeks.

Shortly after noon Wednesday, the port received a call from passers-by at the Boat Haven reporting that a vessel was riding low in the water.

Port personnel were dispatched, but the ship, the Gweduc1 — owned by Carl Sheats of Brinnon — sank at about 2 p.m., Crockett said.

The cause of the boat's sinking has not been determined and is under investigation, Crockett said.

The cost of overtime and materials, which Crockett estimated would be more than $5,000, will be billed to Sheats, Crockett said.

The vessel, which was used as a dive boat to collect sea cucumbers, is now in dry dock at the Boat Haven.

State Department of Ecology officials commended the port for its fast response.

“Port staff quickly deployed absorbent materials, boom and hard boom when the vessel sank,” Kent said in a statement.

She said by the time the sinking was reported to Ecology at 2:20 p.m., port staff was on scene and addressing the situation.

Said Ecology lead spill responder Ron Holcomb: “The port staff did an excellent job of working quickly to address and contain this spill during the initial stages.

“We will continue to work diligently to minimize its impacts,” he added.

Also working on cleaning up the spill were Coast Guard personnel and the owner of the boat.

Once the spill was contained, efforts began to raise the boat.

Crockett said Sheats had access to inflatables that can be used to raise boats, but they were in Shelton and had to be transported.

Sheats also recruited several divers for the operation, Crockett said.

The operation began after dark, and the boat was lifted out of the water at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday, Crockett said.

Crockett said absorbent boom material is placed around the perimeter of the spill.

It turns red when it is full to capacity, then is replaced.

The area outside of the first boom perimeter is surrounded by the absorbent “sausage boom” and a third hard boom, he said.

All the needed material was on hand, Crockett said.

Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 03. 2013 5:51PM
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