(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)
January 30, 2014
Global Diving & Salvage, Inc., under contract with DNR, towed the Chickamauga from Eagle Harbor to Port Townsend’s Boat Haven Marina without incident (news release). The vessel was hauled out at the boatyard the same day. The vessel’s owner has until February 18 to appeal DNR’s custody. DNR staff are assessing the historical significance of the vessel. It is listed in the Washington Heritage Register for two main reasons: It’s the first diesel-powered tug and it had a long association with the state’s timber industry. The vessel was remodeled substantially in the 1950s and again in the 1970s, and the original engines were replaced several times. Museums or other organizations concerned with historical preservation may inquire with DNR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 16, 2014
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) took possession of the Chickamauga today. DNR operates the state’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program to manage abandoned and derelict boats and ships under 200 feet. DNR is making arrangements to tow the Chickamauga to a boat yard in the Seattle area where it will be brought up on dry land for storage for the immediate future.
January 15, 2014
The Washington State Attorney General’s Office filed criminal charges today against the Chickamauga’s owner in connection with the October 2013 sinking and oil spill.
Monday, October 14, 2013 3:00 PM
Spill responders from the Coast Guard’s response contractor continue to make
spot checks at the Chickamauga, which remains surrounded by containment boom and
oil spill cleanup pads. A light sheen (thin coating of oil on the surface) is
seen within the containment area. The Coast Guard is maintaining its contract to
ensure proper maintenance of the boom and pads.
Friday, October 10, 2013 10:00 AM
Salvage crews patched the Chickamauga’s hull and the vessel was able to float
without crane support by about 9:30 last night. Small trickles of water
continue to enter the hull, but two pumps, operated by marina staff, are keeping
the tug afloat.
Thursday, October 10, 2013 3:30 PM
The Chickamauga now sits upright in rigging slung from a crane barge. Crews
are adjusting the slings so that lifting can begin. They will pump water out of
the boat as it surfaces.
Thursday, October 10, 2013 11:30 AM
A crane barge arrived this morning and connected to rigging set up by divers
yesterday. The crane has begun to apply pressure to the rigging and tug to first
set the Chickamauga upright and then raise it. Some light releases of diesel
fuel and engine oil have been confined to the boom that surrounds the tug.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 10:00 AM
Late yesterday afternoon a mooring line that held the
sunken tug Chickamauga at a list snapped. The vessel rolled to rest on its right
side. At high tide, the boat is completely submerged.
After the roll, a dive team, still operating under a Coast Guard contract, sealed an opening to a lubricating oil tank. Some oil leaked during the roll and light releases continue. The boom and absorbent pads surrounding the tug have contained the recent discharges.
The unified command has decided to proceed with raising the Chickamauga, using the Coast Guard contract. Divers will rig the vessel today, to prepare it for the arrival tomorrow of a crane barge.
Righting and lifting the boat will allow salvage crews to complete the removal of oil and fuel from the vessel to end the environmental threats from the sinking.
The marina leases state aquatic lands from the Department of Natural Resources, and a wreck must be removed from such lands. The unified command is continuing discussions with involved party about further steps for the vessel.
Thursday, October 3, 2013 12:45 PM
The Chickamauga still lists (leans) to the right side. Because of this, divers cannot safely access the sixth and last of the fuel tanks found aboard the vessel to recover its contents. The vents and fill for this tank were plugged last night before the vessel started to shift. There is some amount of petroleum (likely waste oil) remaining in that tank.
We are not seeing any active discharge from the vessel at this time.
Response crews are maintaining a single ring of containment boom around the vessel. This boom is lined with absorbents. We could not get a second ring of containment boom around the vessel without restricting marina operations.
The skimmer brought on scene was not used, so all on-water recovery has been done with absorbents. The owner estimated 400 gallons on board. We recovered about fifty gallons from the vessel tanks, and will press the absorbents to measure the oil removed from the water.
Because there is still some petroleum remaining in the tank, the containment boom will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Response crews will monitor the scene approximately every 12 hours to ensure the vessel is not discharging. If a discharge is identified we can resume recovery operations. Ecology and Coast Guard spill-response personnel expect to be able to depart the scene this afternoon.
The Coast Guard, which has hired the response and diving contractor with federal oil spill contingency funds, is discussing salvage options with the marina manager. The responsibility for salvage normally falls to the owner, but could shift to the marina if the owner cannot pay.
Thursday, October 3, 2013 11:50 AM
Unified Command met on-scene this morning. Response crews are continuing to swap out absorbents and are still recovering product from the water. It does not appear that any product is releasing from the vessel at this time; however, there is still believed to be some product in the waste oil tank on the aft of the vessel. The fill and vent on this tank are currently plugged. The vessel continues to list and divers cannot safely access the waste oil tank to remove the remaining petroleum.
There is some light sheening in several slips in the marina; however the containment boom seems to be functioning efficiently at this time. The current plan is to continue to observe the vessel, recover product from the water, and investigate possibilities for the safe removal of petroleum from the aft tank.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 5:00 PM
Divers plugged all six of the Chickamauga’s fuel vents. This stops most
or all of the release of oil into the water. Next, crews will pump out the
fuel tanks, an effort now getting under way.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 3:30 PM
Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard have established a Unified Command (UC) to
oversee the cleanup of oil leaking from the sunken tug Chickamauga in Eagle
Harbor, Bainbridge Island.
Date of Incident:
Attorney General’s Office news release
Joint Press Release
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.html.