A fishing vessel that sank in the Westport Marina over the Thanksgiving weekend is one of more than a handful of boats that the Harbor has claimed or beached in 2016.
Randy Lewis is Director of Environmental and Engineering Services at the Port of Grays Harbor. He told commissioners earlier this month, “We’ve had a bad year for the entire area, since February there has been several incidents in and around Grays Harbor.”
The year began with the Fishing Vessel Persistence underwater for over two months at the marina, it was floated out and demolished in February.
Lewis told Port Commissioners during their November meeting, “On April 15th the 75-foot shrimper Privateer out of Westport sank just North of the North Jetty.” The Privateer drifted onto the beach where it was dismantled and scrapped, but not before a visit from another boat.
Lewis said “On May 23rd, the 80-foot shrimper Jamie Marie out of Westport ran aground within a couple hundred yards of the Privateer.” Crews on the Jamie Marie were able to tow her back to sea with the help of two tugs but lost an expensive load of fish.
Then, Lewis said, “On August 23rd, the 36-foot fishing vessel Ila on a trip from Westport to Ketchikan, Alaska grounded about a half mile North of Ocean Avenue off of Westport. The Coast Guard units actually found the vessel skipper asleep onboard.” That wooden vessel was left to break up on the beach.
Some boats, like the Persistence, sank in the Marina. Lewis said, “On September 4th the 77-foot shrimper Lady Lillian sank at float 15 in the Marina.” Crews worked this month to refloat and remove that boat, the owner is working with the port after recovery costs soared over $150,000.
Although it was not mentioned in Randy’s report, The North Coast News in Ocean Shores had the story of the Fishing Vessel Trinity, which grounded near Pacific Beach on September 8th. The crew of the Trinity did not create a distress call or log the incident with the Coast Guard.
The U.S. Coast Guard also rescued 5 from the 56-foot fishing vessel Taplow 19 miles Southwest of Grays Harbor on October 7th, the Taplow sank in about 300 feet of water.
Lewis continued, “On October 23rd, the 59-foot motor sailor that’s been used for fishing (wood-fiberglass composite hull) was returning from a trip from Newport, Oregon and ran aground on Wickum’s Spit, West of the Marina entrance.” That boat, called the Pacific Rim continued to be a navigational hazard for a couple of weeks while it floated around the harbor half-sunk.
Then another sinking at the marina, said Lewis, “on Tuesday, November 1st, the 47-foot fishing boat Restless C sank at float 17.” The owner worked this month to refloat that boat and will make a decision on salvage or scrap depending on its condition.
The most recent incident was last Friday, November 25, 2016, 41-foot vessel named Charlotte sank at the Westport Marina.
The Persistence cost the port over 105-thousand to refloat and scrap at the docks. The Lady Lillian looks to cost more. Lewis said in many cases the boat owners were not insured, and these incidents show how important that is. He said the port is working to make sure that everyone is covered, but the wooden-hulled boats are costly, if not impossible to insure.