WILLAPA BAY, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) and U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard) continue to monitor the salvage operation for the 61-foot crabbing vessel Genesis A that ran aground on a sand bar in the early morning of Friday, Jan. 25, near Leadbetter Point at the entrance to Willapa Bay.
The vessel owner and his insurance company plan to salvage the Genesis A by breaking it up and removing it from the beach. They are working with salvage contractor Hill and Son Excavating Inc., and hope to have the vessel removed by Friday, Feb. 1. The salvage work will be conducted in compliance with appropriate state permits.
There were an estimated 1,300 gallons of diesel fuel and hydraulic oil onboard when the vessel ran aground. Sheen was visible in waters along the beach over the weekend. The vessel discharged an estimated 600 to 750 gallons of oil, and sheen could be seen in waters along the beach about 200 yards south of the vessel and about 400 yards to the north. Small amounts of oil can cause extremely large areas of sheen. Oil spilled to water can form oily patches that spread out quickly. These “oil slicks” can cover many acres of water.
Responders were able to work during low tides to remove all of the known recoverable oil from the vessel by Saturday evening, Jan. 26 – also an estimated 600 to 750 gallons – thus minimizing risk for further spills.
The high-energy surf and other weather conditions caused the oil that did spill to dissipate quickly.
Responders inspected inside Willapa Bay from the shore side and did not observe any oil.
Light sheen was observed on the beach near the vessel Monday, Jan. 28, but no sheen has been observed on the beach today by the salvage contractor.
Ecology and the Coast Guard continue to actively monitor the Genesis A salvage operation by local company Hill and Son Excavating Inc.
Ballard Diving and Salvage, the oil spill response contractor hired by the responsible party, has demobilized.
On Friday, Jan. 25, the Coast Guard rescued four people and their dog from the vessel about 3:37 a.m. after it ran aground. No medical attention was needed.
The Coast Guard is the lead agency investigating the cause of the grounding.
All oil spills cause environmental damage, regardless of size. Oil is toxic to the environment and the damage starts as soon as the oil enters water. A single quart of oil has the potential to foul more than 100,000 gallons of water.
Prompt reporting of oil spills is important because the sooner responders are notified, the sooner they can work to remove this toxic pollutant from the environment. Oil spills can be reported to 1-800-OILS-911.