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IOSA on standby after burned boat sinks near Shipyard Cove

PRESS RELEASE: Islands' Oil Spill Association (IOSA) responders are on standby since 3 am on December 17, 2011, after being notified of a vessel on fire near Shipyard Cove Marina.

When IOSA was notified, the crew of fire boat Confidence was fighting the fire.Despite their efforts the 27’ fiberglass boat sank in 40’ of water.

The presumed owner, who was on board when the fire started, escaped without injury into his skiff.

US Coast Guard and Washington State Department of Ecology asked IOSA to go out at first light and see if there was oil escaping into the water. The owner told the Coast Guard he was unsure how much diesel was onboard but believed it was very little.

Two trained IOSA responders took IOSA’s response boat, the Green Heron stationed at the Port of Friday Harbor, to the place where the boat sunk. They reported rainbow sheen in the area but nothing recoverable. There was also small amounts of fuel bubbling to the surface every few minutes but none of it could be recovered with sorbent pads.

Based on the information received, the USCG sent a crew to the scene to determine what steps were needed to prevent any further pollutants from escaping the vessel.

After Coast Guard representatives arrived mid day Saturday they told the owner he needed to get some containment boom around the area where fuel continued to bubble up. The Coast Guard gave him the option to hire someone to do it or to handle it himself.

The owner was able to obtain 100’ of boom, which he deployed around the area where the boat sank. On Sunday afternoon, December 18, the Coast Guard told the owner that he needed to have someone dive on the boat to determine where the fuel was leaking and stop it at the source.

IOSA responders remained on standby all weekend, ready to deploy containment boom and clean-up pollutants that were recoverable.

As of Monday December 19, the Coast Guard has not asked for additional IOSA services. The USCG is overseeing the owner’s efforts to handle the situation on his own.

Islands’ Oil Spill Association is the only oil spill response group in the San Juan Islands, and the sole non-profit, community-based spill response group in the Northwest.

For more information on IOSA, you can go to the at IOSA website, send an email to iosaoffice@rockisland.com or call the office in Friday Harbor at 360-378-5322.

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