Oil spill equipment put to use

TULALIP — When a 60-foot commercial fishing boat sank in Tulalip Bay recently, the Tulalip Tribes were ready to keep it from becoming an environmental disaster.

That’s because last summer they applied for, and received, a $25,000 grant from the state for a trailer with equipment that contains and absorbs oil spills. They also got training in using the new equipment.

When the St. Nicholas sank on Sept. 23 — no one was injured — the equipment kept oil and gas from the boat from reaching the shore, Tulalip police Lt. Robert Myers said.

This was important, because if petroleum reaches the shoreline, “cleanup is very hard and very, very expensive,” Myers said.

The equipment consists of floating vinyl booms that contain floating oil and gas, and pads made of synthetic material made to absorb petroleum products but not water, Myers said.

From the time the boat began to sink, Myers was on the scene in less than an hour, he said. Within another hour, the boat was surrounded with eight rings of protection, Myers said.

First were individual absorbent 18-by-18-inch pads; second were larger 5-by-10-foot pads strung together in sections; third were more individual pads; fourth were more pads in sections; fifth and sixth were two rings of the vinyl booming; seventh was another ring of absorbent pads, and eighth were more individual pads.

The pads were continually replaced with more pads until there was no more oil or gas for them to absorb, Myers said.

The quick action got the equipment in place by the time the boat shifted and the gas began pouring out at a faster rate, Myers said.

Ballard Salvage was called to pump out the oil and gas that remained in the boat — it carried 70 gallons of fuel — and the boat was raised two days later.

The operation cost an estimated $40,000, Myers said — $ 20,000 to Ballard Salvage and $20,000 in equipment and tribal staff time, he said. The owners of the boat, a nontribal enterprise, are being billed, Myers said.

The equipment was pressed into action when a smaller vessel, a 32-foot tribal fishing boat, sank in early October, Myers said. The small amount of fuel was quickly contained and did not threaten the shoreline, he said.

The timing of the tribes’ receiving the equipment could not have been more fortuitous, tribal chairman Mel Sheldon Jr. said. He said he couldn’t recall any accidents in the past as threatening to the bay and the fishermen’s nets as the recent episode.

When the accident happened, “I saw that we had the right equipment and the right training to contain that situation,” Sheldon said.

Bill Sheets

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
1 dead, 1 in hospital after 3-vehicle crash on Highway 9

A concrete pumping truck and two sedans crashed Monday afternoon, closing the highway near Bickford Avenue.

Moses Malachi Brewer appears in court for sentencing Friday, March 24, 2023, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to 18 years for 2019 shooting in Everett

Moses Brewer, 23, shot four people in an Everett apartment, which left one victim paralyzed on his right side.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Health care spending continues to outpace inflation, driven by prices

Can state efforts curb 6.7% growth per year in overall health care spending?

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A buffet of budgets, a bunch of whales and a request for your miles

It’s Day 78. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
A mostly united Senate sends $71B spending plan to the House

The proposed budget passed on a 40-9 vote. It hikes spending for schools, child care and human services.

Officers were dispatched to a report of shots fired Thursday morning, March 2, 2023, at the Erwin Estates Apartment Complex in the 8200 block of 11th Dr W in Everett. (Everett Police Department)
‘Did I shoot anyone?’ Everett man charged with killing sleeping neighbor

Jeremy Jones called police to report apparent delusions about his neighbor. A day later, he fired through a wall.

Max Larson, 14, poses for a photo at Terrace Park in Arlington, Washington, on Monday, March 27, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Wrap-around service gives at-risk kids ‘a shoulder that you can lean on’

Compass Health’s WISe program saw 750 referrals last year in northwest Washington — a “significant” increase.

Jeanette Westover poses for a photo at her home in Snohomish, Washington on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Tenant: Housing Hope ignored meth contamination at Snohomish apartment

Jeanette Westover says meth contamination far exceeding state limits gave her seizures and kidney infections.

A Sounder gray whale. (Cascadia Research)
Don’t be flummoxed: Help is needed to name 5 Puget Sound gray whales

The voting poll on the Sounders, as these whales are called, is until Sunday for the grays dining in our waters.

Most Read