Thursday, February 10, 2011

Coast Guard, NOAA, Ecology Monitor Area Where the Vicious Fisher Sank

The Coast Guard, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Washington Department of Ecology responded to pollution concerns after the 80-foot fishing vessel, Vicious Fisher, sank in about 360 feet of water approximately 13 miles west of La Push, Wash., last week in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

The steel hulled Vicious Fisher out of Bellingham, Wash., sank with approximately 3,800 gallons of diesel fuel on board.

Friday, Coast Guard helicopter crews conducted two over flights of the area and discovered a two-mile, light sheen in the vicinity of area the vessel sank.

Saturday, a Coast Guard over flight revealed a three-mile sheen in the vicinity of the area the vessel sank. The sheen appears to be composed of weathered sheen from yesterday in addition to some fresh product. The sheen appears to be drifting to the northwest and will not likely make landfall. The sheen is not recoverable.

Diesel sheens cannot be effectively recovered in open ocean conditions. These sheens are thin and scattered, and cannot be absorbed.

NOAA estimates the sheen will evaporate and naturally disperse over the next few days and does not anticipate the size of the sheen to increase. NOAA does not expect the diesel currently on or under the water to pose a significant environmental threat and any impacts should be negligible. All pollutant spills have an impact on the environment.

Coast Guard, NOAA and Ecology will continue to monitor the situation. Another Coast Guard over flight is scheduled for tomorrow and Coast Guard Cutter Cuttyhunk will conduct an on-scene assessment early next week.

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