FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2014
State DNR to remove derelict tugboat from Eagle Harbor
Agency took custody of vessel January 16
OLYMPIA – Today, divers and staff from Global Diving & Salvage, Inc., under contract with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), will prepare the derelict vessel Chickamauga for towing from Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island. A tug is scheduled to arrive early Friday morning to tow the vessel to Boat Haven Marina in Port Townsend. The 70-foot, 100-year-old wood tugboat sank October 2 while moored at the marina on Bainbridge Island.
When the Chickamauga sank, the Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard set up a unified command operation to oversee the cleanup of oil leaking from the sunken tugboat. The Chickamauga was raised to the surface a week later on October 10, with response contractors regularly monitoring the vessel for oil leaks. To safeguard against additional oil escaping into the marine environment, the vessel has been surrounded by a containment boom and cleanup pads.
“Washington’s waterways host a biologically diverse ecosystem that supports a fish and shellfish industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Washington’s economy,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “When vessels are abandoned, it endangers vital habitat and puts the financial burden of cleanup on Washington’s taxpayers.”
Under the Derelict Vessels Act, DNR has the authority to take custody of a vessel if an owner allows it to become derelict or abandoned. DNR took custody of the Chickamauga on January 16 after the owner failed to remove the vessel. In addition, the state Attorney General’s office filed criminal charges against the owner on January 15.
By law, the owner of the vessel has until February 18 to appeal DNR’s decision to take custody of the vessel. If no appeal is filed, DNR may put out a bid for dismantling and disposing of the vessel. In the meantime, DNR is also conducting a cultural resource review to assess the vessel’s historical significance. If a museum or historical preservation organization is interested in the vessel, they may contact DNR for more information at email@example.com.
About the removal
Today’s operations will involve setting up pump stations and securing the rudder and wheel. The tug is scheduled to arrive at approximately 6 a.m. on Friday, January 31, to tow the vessel to Port Townsend. The voyage is expected to be completed in one day.
Because of the early morning schedule and low light, getting footage of the vessel leaving Bainbridge Island may be challenging. A possible vantage point is Pritchard Park, Northeast Old Creosote Hill Road on Bainbridge Island. View map: http://goo.gl/maps/V9J6m.
Note: The tow schedule is subject to change depending on weather and other unforeseen circumstances. The media may get an update on the tow schedule by contacting Toni Droscher, firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-902-1523 (office) or 360-688-3392 (mobile).
For more information about the sinking and raising of the Chickamauga, visit the Washington Department of Ecology’s incident web page: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/incidents/ChickamaugaTug/index.html
Link to news release about Attorney General’s charges against Chickamauga’s owner: www.atg.wa.gov/pressrelease.aspx?&id=31762#.Ut75M-LTlMw
DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program
DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program provides funding and expertise to public agencies to assist with the removal of abandoned and derelict vessels from state-owned aquatic lands, which DNR manages. At any given time, there can be about 200 derelict vessels on the rivers, lakes, and estuaries of Washington. Primary funding for the program comes from a $3 surcharge placed on annual vessel registration fees and an additional $5 charge added to non-resident vessel fees.
For more information about DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program, visit: http://bit.ly/dnr_dvrp.
Media Contact: Toni Droscher, DNR Aquatic Resources Division Communications Manager, 360-902-1523, email@example.com
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