The Coast Guard has concluded its portion of the response in overseeing the salvage operations of the fishing vessel Privateer off the beach at Ocean Shores in Washington, Wednesday.
The Coast Guard response was stood down because personnel from the Incident Management Division at Sector Columbia River found no recoverable fuel aboard the Privateer during their inspection of the beached vessel.
The Privateer washed ashore, Saturday, April 16, after the Coast Guard rescued the three-man crew the night before 1 mile outside of Grays Harbor after the 74-foot fishing vessel started sinking.
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Incident Management Division personnel and Washington Department of Ecology have been monitoring the situation the past several weeks. Salvage operations have been impeded by the location of the Privateer in breaking surf and weather conditions.
“After monitoring the situation with the Privateer over the past few weeks, we were finally able to access the vessel with favorable tide and weather conditions to determine no recoverable fuel is aboard the beached vessel,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Rushane, federal on-scene coordinator for the Privateer incident. “Safety of people is always our number one priority so today was our first opportunity to verify if there was fuel onboard. The Coast Guard’s role in these types of incidents is to mitigate the pollution threat to the environment, and since we verified there is no threat to the environment our portion is complete.”
The Privateer’s owner reported the vessel had a maximum capacity of 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel, but it was unknown how much fuel was aboard at the time of the incident. The smell of diesel has been reported in the area, but no sheen has been sighted.
Wednesday’s attempt at moving the vessel did not work, however, the salvage operation will continue under the direction of Washington Department of Ecology and Washington State Parks.
The incident is still under investigation.