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At least 70 gallons of leaked diesel fuel recovered from Poulsbo Marina

At least 70 gallons of diesel fuel from a leaking fishing vessel was recovered from Liberty Bay at Poulsbo Marina on Friday. - Washington state Department of Ecology
At least 70 gallons of diesel fuel from a leaking fishing vessel was recovered from Liberty Bay at Poulsbo Marina on Friday.
— image credit: Washington state Department of Ecology

POULSBO — At least 70 gallons of diesel fuel from a leaking fishing vessel were recovered from Liberty Bay at Poulsbo Marina on Friday.

The state Department of Ecology was notified of the leak at about 8:30 a.m. Friday. Port of Poulsbo staff already had placed boom – a floating barrier to stop the spread of oil – and oil cleanup materials around the Eric J, a fishing vessel with a leaking fuel tank. The Poulsbo Fire Department assisted in deploying the boom. By 7 p.m., at least 70 gallons of diesel fuel had been recovered from the water, Ecology reported.

It was unclear at the time how much fuel had leaked into Liberty Bay. The vessel’s owner pumped fuel from the tank to minimize the risk of fuel getting into the bay, and by 8:40 p.m. fuel was no longer leaking from the vessel into the water, Ecology reported. Responders believe the Eric J had at least 2,000 gallons of fuel on board.

Coast Guard pollution investigators remained on the scene to monitor the cleanup and fuel recovery effort. The owner hired a tug company to tow the Eric J to Port Townsend this week. The boom and cleanup materials came from an Ecology spill-response equipment trailer at the scene, one of several placed at ports and harbors around the state to speed responses to oil spills.

Jacqui Schultz of Ecology’s spill response team said it’s unknown how much fuel may have leaked from the Eric J. She said it leaked over a couple of days, and when the owner scraped the hull to pinpoint the location of the leak, “it made the damage larger and the rate of release increased.”

She described the Eric J’s hull as “weathered.” The vessel, owned by Jon A. Greenway, is a 40-gross-ton fishing vessel built in 1973 by Nichols Bros. Boatbuilders, according to shipbuildinghistory.com.

“The determination of the Coast Guard was that she was not seaworthy, that the boat had to be pumped dry and towed to Port Townsend for repair."

The Eric J’s diesel leak is the third fuel leak in Liberty Bay in the Port of Poulsbo area in three weeks, Schultz said. She said fuel samples taken at the site of those leaks are being studied to determine if they are connected.

 

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