(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)
Date of Incident:
December 5, 2014
Approximately 4,600 gallons of oil and fuel
US Coast Guard Release (12/06/14)
US Coast Guard Release (12/05/14)
Ecology fined vessel owners $10,500 for spilling oil and fuel to the Columbia River. The agency also issued a bill for the response in the amount of $8,000.
A Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) will be determined by a committee comprised of several state agencies (Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Health, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the State Parks and Recreation Commission) and chaired by Ecology.
The location of the sunken crab boat, FV Titan, is one of the most difficult spots to work at the mouth of the Columbia River.
It is characterized by strong currents, tides, rough seas, and frequent storms.
Since the vessel sank on December 5th, there are very short windows of time at slack tides and good weather where divers can safely access the wreck.
Following a dive inspection on January 7, it was confirmed that the vessel
has not moved since the serious storms in December. It remains firmly attached
to an anchor, and is being covered in sand with about five feet building up
around the stern.
The joint USCG, Washington, Oregon, and vessel owner representative have decided to leave the vessel in place.
Divers were able to check a fuel tank on January 7 and found it was filled with water. It appears likely that all of the fuel and oils have discharged from the vessel.
In addition to the water-filled tank, there have been no reports of oil
discharges or sheens since December 8. The diminished pollution threat and
concern for safety of divers and responders outweighs the need to move, raise or
remove the vessel.
The USCG has authority to direct the vessel owner to investigate and address problems with the vessel if it is determined in the future to be a pollution threat or a hazard to navigation.
Various maritime operators and organizations, agencies and Tribes have been notified of the decision to leave the sunken FV Titan in place.
Tuesday the USCG reported that current, weather and sea-state conditions remain poor at the location of the vessel.
Divers have been attempting to take advantage of short windows of time to
assess the vessel and try to secure rigging.
At this time, the USCG and responsible party are recommending that further operations be postponed through early January when the long-range weather forecast appears more favorable.
Ecology concurs, with continued observation for oil discharges. No sheen or oil discharge has been present for the past several days and the USCG Station Cape Disappointment will monitor the area.
The F/V Titan sustained its location through the last several days of storms and no sheen was visible today. A team made up of the US Coast Guard, owner and contractor postponed operations today and will resume work to remove and tow the vessel on Monday, Dec. 15.
Crews worked over the weekend to remove the Titan, but heavy currents, wind and weather conditions thwarted attempts at a successful removal and tow.
Heavy storms are anticipated for the next several days and response actions are slated to resume Friday, Dec. 12.
The Coast Guard is continuing to work with owners of the F/V Titan to salvage
the vessel. The boat remains in a sensitive area near the navigation channels of
the Columbia River and crews are working to ensure the partially submerged
vessel does not drift and impact the waterway.
The Coast Guard, Global Diving & Salvage, Department of Ecology, Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Army Corp of Engineers are collaborating on the incident. The Coast Guard describes the incident as a ‘dynamic situation’ because of the shifting tides and river currents that cause the vessel to actively shake.
The scent of diesel fuel has been reported in the area, along with a visible sheen on the water. The amount of fuel discharged is unknown at this time.
The boat’s owner contracted with Global Diving & Salvage to clean up the fuel and conduct salvage operations. So far, the sheen created from fuel from the vessel has not been heavy enough to recover from the water. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the grounding and will monitor the next courses of action.
Early Dec. 5, a crew onboard the F/V Titan was rescued after hitting rocks near a jetty close to Ilwaco and taking on water.
The US Coast Guard safely rescued the crew members. The Coast Guard is now working with a representative of the owner, Ecology, Oregon DEQ, and Global Diving and Salvage to respond to this incident. Currently, the bow of the vessel is sunk with about eight feet of the stern bobbing above the water. The Titan was carrying approximately 3,500 gal of diesel fuel, plus several hundred gallons of hydraulic and lube oils. An overflight today shows a silver sheen headed toward Cape Disappointment. No oiled wildlife were observed during the overflight and no other reports have been received.
The US Coast Guard and Global Diving and Salvage are placing already-established geographic response plans for the area that protect areas where sensitive natural resources are known. Contractors and agency workers are closely monitoring the shoreline.
The agencies will continue to work to remove the vessel into the evening and through weekend. Safe operations are a top priority, particularly because of strong river and tidal currents and anticipated heavy weather starting later this weekend. Check this web page for updates or follow us on Twitter.
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