Vessel Owners Fined for Port Orchard Oil Spill

The owners of a 69-foot wooden vessel that sank at a Port Orchard dock, Washington, and spilled oil into Sinclair Inlet face a USD 47,500 penalty from the Washington Department of Ecology over the incident.

The authorities issued the fine to Dean Raught and Kyhra Hessel of Des Moines for failing to keep the 58-year-old former fishing boat Tango in suitable repair to remain afloat. The fishing vessel sank at the Port Orchard Railway Marina on September 2, 2015.

Investigators determined that a power cable came loose from an electrical service box on the dock. As a result, six pumps stopped operating that had been keeping the vessel from sinking. A lock to secure plug-ins at the box had not been properly engaged.

An estimated 751 gallons of oil, primarily diesel fuel with lubricating oil, spilled when the Tango sank.

Most of the spilled fuel was contained within the marina, but a sheen extended about a mile into Sinclair Inlet. In the marina, response crews recovered about 618 gallons of the spill, and 30 gallons that was still inside the boat.

The marina had the vessel patched and re-floated, then towed to a boat yard for demolition.

With the fine, Ecology also is billing Raught and Hessel USD 1,200 for the state’s costs to respond to the spill and oversee the cleanup. Earlier, the state issued a separate USD 20,070 assessment for damage the spill caused to the public’s environmental resources, based on the amount spilled and the resources it placed at risk.

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