Date of Incident:
Responsible Party: Unknown
Dept Natural Resources
U.S. Coast Guard
Dept of Natural Resources
(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)
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Helena Star - Facts and FAQs
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 9:00 AM
February 19, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the removal of the Helena Star. The deadline for contractors to submit applications is 1 p.m., March 13. The contract runs April 15 – August 31. The scope of work includes removing the Helena Star and towing it to Stabbert Yacht and Ship Shipyard (SYS) in Seattle. The winning bid will be announced in late March.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 3:00 PM
The Washington State Attorney General’s Office filed criminal charges in connection with the Helena Star’s January 2013 sinking and oil spill.
Thursday, January 9, 2014 3:00 PM
The Helena Star Unified Command members decided today to postpone operations
to raise and remove the sunken vessel until mid-July 2014.
Friday, December 13, 2013 1:00 PM
Washington Department of Natural Resources contractor Global Diving & Salvage
is conducting a thorough assessment of the deteriorated condition of the Helena
Star. Based on this information and on information gained during the attempted
lift, DNR will develop the next steps for removal of the vessel in coordination
with Unified Command. The assessment, and video obtained, will provide
information for the bidding process that DNR will initiate for removing the
Friday, December 6, 2013 3:00 PM
Responders will continue to assess the Helena Star and options for cleaning
the vessel and removing it from the waterway in coming days.
Friday, December 6, 2013 10:15 AM
Crews working to lift the sunken Helena Star have determined the vessel
is in such poor condition a threat exists that the vessel will break
apart if raised as planned.
Thursday, December 5, 2013 5:00 PM
The Helena Star was raised for a first look, and set back on the bottom pending further assessment. There was a small amount of sheen when the vessel was moved. Oil containment boom remains in place to contain any releases. Crews will continue to assess options for next steps, including the safest way to remove the vessel, tomorrow.
Thursday, December 5, 2013 11:00 AM
The DB General, a 700-ton crane barge, arrived on the Hylebos Waterway early this morning to prepare for lifting the 167-foot derelict vessel Helena Star.
A multi-agency unified command is coordinating the recovery effort: the U.S. Coast Guard, Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Tacoma Fire Department, and Ballard Marine Construction. The Coast Guard will oversee the raising of the vessel today and will begin assessing and then removing any pollution threats.
Once there is no longer a threat of an oil spill or hazardous materials release, the vessel becomes the responsibility of DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program. DNR will arrange for the vessel to be towed to a dry dock in Seattle where it will be hauled out, dismantled, recycled and disposed of.
More details are available in this news release.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Operations to prepare the Helena Star for lifting will cease throughout the
holiday weekend and begin again in early December.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Operations continue to prepare the Helena Star for raising and removal. The time frame for raising the vessel depends on many factors that will be assessed in coming days, but the lifting of the vessel may occur in early December.
FAQ of the day: How is the operation to remove the Helena Star being paid for?
Funding comes from two main sources:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 8:00 AM
Work begins today to prepare the 167-foot Helena Star for removal from the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma’s Commencement Bay. The process to raise the vessel is expected to take several days, and the process to remove it and properly dispose of it is likely to take several weeks. A multi-agency unified command is coordinating the effort. The command includes the U.S. Coast Guard, Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Tacoma Fire Department, and Ballard Marine Construction. Funding for the Helena Star removal effort comes from two main sources:
Monday, October 21, 2013
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that Stabbert Maritime will remove the 130-foot derelict vessel Golden West from the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma on Saturday, October 19. The contractors will tow the former fishing vessel to their yard just inside the Ballard Locks in Seattle for dismantling. disposal and recycling. The removal of the Golden West clears the way for the removal of the 167-foot Helena Star, which sank Jan. 25 in the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma. The Helena Star will be scheduled for removal in the coming weeks.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Removal of Helena Star and Golden West: The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officially took custody of the sunken
Helena Star and the Golden West on Aug. 16. This became possible after
additional funds were approved for DNR to address derelict vessels in the budget
passed by the Washington State Legislature and signed by Governor Inslee in
June. Both the Helena Star and the Golden West have been on DNR’s vessel watch
list for several years, but funding was not previously available for their
Updated spill volume from Helena Star: Based on the initial release of oil from the Helena Star when it sank on Jan 25, plus at least 38 additional days of oil releases observed by Ecology and Coast Guard spill responders, the estimated total volume of oil released to the Hylebos Waterway is 290 to 890 gallons of oil. The mid-point of this range is 590 gallons. Response contractors hired by the Coast Guard report they recovered about 50 gallons of oil from the waterway in late January.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 1:22 PM
Approximately 10,500 gallons of recyclable oil was pumped off of the Golden West, by contractor Global Diving and Salvage (GDS), under the supervision of Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard on July 1 and 2. The oil was pumped to vacuum trucks onshore. About 1,000 gallons of oily water also was pumped from the vessel’s bilge. Ecology and the Coast Guard believe this significantly reduces the pollution threat from the Golden West. However, 100 percent of the oil cannot be removed while the vessel is still in the water. Thorough cleaning to remove small amounts of residual oil in spaces such as machinery would require extensive efforts to clean the vessel either with detergent, steam or pressure washing, which would pose a pollution threat if done over water.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 11:40 PM
The U.S. Coast Guard, Ecology, and a response contractor found approximately 10,000 gallons of oil in the tanks of the Golden West after they boarded it to assess its hazards. The Helena Star and Golden West were tangled together at the Hylebos Waterway’s Mason Marine docks when the Helena Star sank on Jan. 25, 2013. Responders secured the Golden West with several lines to keep it afloat.
Heavy metals in paint on both ships’ decks and hulls also may pose threats to the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma’s Commencement Bay under some circumstances, according to laboratory analyses of paint and other material samples gathered when the agencies conducted an assessment in May.
The Coast Guard ordered the Golden West’s owner to remove the 10,000 gallons of oil by June 28. If the owner fails to do so, the Coast Guard will remove the oil during the first week of July. The Coast Guard may bill the owners for the costs for removing and disposing of the oil.
Meanwhile, the owners of the Helena Star have not responded to an emergency enforcement order issued by Ecology in April requiring that the vessel be removed. Responders are still reporting periodic sheen around the 167-foot steel hull vessel due to releases of residual oil from the Helena Star.
It is unknown whether adequate funding from state and federal sources will be available to take over removal of these derelict vessels if owners don’t comply with the enforcement order. Funding sources employed by the Coast Guard and Ecology Spill Response are not available for salvage operations -- they are limited to addressing oil spills and cleaning up the environment. Ecology and the Coast Guard are actively coordinating with other state and federal agencies to seek funding for potential salvage operations.
Both vessels are in deteriorating condition and remain surrounded with oil containment boom. Ecology and the Coast Guard are continuing to monitor the situation to control threats to the environment. The Coast Guard also has staged oil recovery and containment equipment in Tacoma so that it may be rapidly deployed if needed.
In March 2012, about 20,000 gallons of oil and oily water as well as other hazardous substances were removed from the vessels by the Coast Guard to limit pollution threats.
Thursday, April 11, 2013 2:46 PM
Ecology invites the public to comment on the Emergency Enforcement Order for the Helena Star and the Golden West. The Enforcement Order was issued on April 1, 2013.
The order requires the Potentially Responsible Persons to:
If the PLPs do not file or carry out an acceptable work plan, Ecology can
hire contractors to do the work and charge the PLPs.
Monday, April 1, 13
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has issued an emergency enforcement order (order) requiring those responsible for the Helena Star to remove the vessel from Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma’s Commencement Bay. The 167-foot steel hull vessel is spilling oil and posing a risk of releasing other contamination into the waterway.
Friday, February 8, 2013 8:30 am
Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard and Ballard Diving and Salvage continue to monitor the derelict vessels Helena Star and Golden West moored at Mason Marine near Tacoma in the Hylebos Waterway. This week Ballard Diving is working to pick up woody debris that may interfere with oil containment boom placed around the vessels to prevent possible pollution from any residual fuel remaining in the vessels. The contractor also is changing out sorbents that soak up any oil releases and resetting the yellow boom used to contain any oil releases. Responders are still reporting sheen around the boats due to small discharges of oil. Most of the fuel was removed from the vessels in March 2012 to limit the potential for pollution.
Two new lines are tied to the Golden West, which remains afloat, to secure it. The Helena Star began sinking Jan. 25. The Golden West, which was tied to the Helena Star, was dragged over to an extreme angle but has not sunk.
Responders continue to monitor the vessels on a daily basis.
Monday, January 28, 2013 4:30 pm
Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard and Ballard Diving and Salvage continued working over the weekend to contain a small but continuous amount of oil released to the Hylebos Waterway after two derelict vessels moored at Mason Marine near Tacoma began sinking on Friday. Double containment boom remains around the vessels to capture releases of oil. Ecology, Coast Guard, and Department of Natural Resources are exploring options for next steps.
Friday, January 25, 2013 3:50 pm
Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard are working with Ballard Diving and Salvage to contain a small amount of oil released to the Hylebos Waterway after two vessels moored at Mason Marine; near Tacoma began sinking early Friday.
The derelict vessels Helena Star and Golden West were tied together when the Helena Star began sinking and pulling the other vessel down with it. The Tacoma Fire Department placed oil containment boom around both vessels to prevent possible pollution from any residual fuel remaining inside the vessels.
In March 2012, about 20,000 gallons of oil and oily water as well as other hazardous substances were removed from the vessels, limiting the potential for pollution to the waterway.
Ballard Diving and Salvage, an environmental cleanup contractor, is placing secondary boom around the vessels and working to clean up some pockets of diesel fuel in the waterway. Most of the cleanup is expected to be completed today, with continued monitoring by Ecology and the Coast Guard over the next couple of days. There are no plans to untie the vessels or raise them at this time.
The vessels have been moored at the marina for about two years. The suspected owner of the vessels, Mason Marine, filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and was not at the scene. According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the two vessels are among an estimated 230 known derelict or abandoned vessels in Washington state.
The state is also investigating a report of four or five birds that may have gotten into oil. More information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.
Friday, January 25, 2013 11:50 am
Multiple agencies responding to sinking of vessels in Hylebos Waterway
The Tacoma Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard and Washington Department of Ecology are responding to the sinking of two vessels moored at Mason Marina on the Hylebos Waterway near Tacoma early Friday.
The abandoned fishing vessels, Helena Star and Golden West, were chained together when they sank Friday morning. Oil containment boom has been placed around both vessels to prevent possible pollution from any residual fuel that may remain inside.
Most of the fuel was removed from the vessels last March, limiting the potential for pollution to the waterway from these vessels.
The State is investigating a report of 4 or 5 birds that may have gotten into oil.
More information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.html.