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1,200 gallons of diesel removed from boat grounded in Port Gamble Bay

A 60-foot former navy boat rests on the beach on Port Gamble Bay on Thursday afternoon. - Tad Sooter/Staff Photo
A 60-foot former navy boat rests on the beach on Port Gamble Bay on Thursday afternoon.
— image credit: Tad Sooter/Staff Photo

LITTLE BOSTON — A salvage company pumped 1,200 gallons of diesel fuel from a grounded boat in Port Gamble Bay early Friday morning, ending the threat of a major spill.

The U.S. Coast Guard contracted with Global Diving and Salvage of Seattle to remove the fuel from the boat, which was first reported aground on Thursday afternoon, state Department of Ecology spokesman Larry Altose said. The boat's owner, who lives out of state, will be responsible for arranging its removal.

The former navy vessel had been anchored in the harbor and was likely pushed ashore during a storm Wednesday night or Thursday morning. It washed onto a beach adjacent to the Port Gamble S'Klallam reservation on the east side of the bay.

The tribe was notified of the spill early Thursday afternoon and tribal officials found a light oil sheen on the water when they responded. Officials deployed a spill containment boom provided by the state Department of Ecology and temporarily closed the beach to shellfish harvests.

Global Diving and Salvage arrived at the scene on Thursday night and finished pumping diesel from the vessel's tanks in the early hours of Friday morning.

Altose said some fuel leaked from tank vents on the boat, but how much is unclear. Ecology will try to calculate the amount of fuel lost by interviewing the boat's owner and determining how much fuel was initially in the tanks. The investigation will likely take several weeks.

Altose said the owner could be fined if a violation is found. The owner could also be assessed for damages to natural resources – including shellfish – if more than 50 gallons of fuel spilled from the boat, Altose said.

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