US fishing vessel Challenger to be freed from rocks on Marin coast
A wrecked fishing vessel that many feared would crash on the rocks off the north coast of Marin must be salvaged after all, removing an eyesore from the scenic coastline and ensuring that debris and poisonous substances do not leak out. step away from the boat in the Grand Farallones National Marine Sanctuary that surrounds it.
Hopes are to refloat and tow the 90-foot U.S. Challenger later this summer, according to the California Department of Fisheries and Wildlife’s spill prevention and response office.
The decommissioned commercial vessel ran aground north of Dillon Beach on March 6 after drifting under tow from Puget Sound to Mexico, where it should have been scuttled.
The operator of the tug towing the decommissioned vessel later said a steel shackle connecting the boats had broken in Bodega Bay, ultimately causing the US Challenger to drift ashore, although a crew from the coast guard was watching him at the time.
Investigators saw oil glisten in the water around the boat when it first ran aground, but said most of the fuel was drained from the tanks before the US Challenger left Port. Angeles, Washington.
Yet this very fact called into question the availability of public funds to cover the wreckage removal.
Neither the American Challenger nor the Hunter tug was insured. Both are owned by the same Florida man, Felix Vera, who couldn’t cover the cost himself.
At least $ 1.5 million spent on the initial response, including oil dams, environmental assessments, and shoreline surveys, was funded by the Federal Oil Spill Liability Fund and an Oil Spill Liability Fund. oil spill response, but officials said in March those sources were not available for recovery costs, with no threat of fuel leakage.
State Office spokesperson Eric Laughlin said Thursday evening that further investigation had revealed a variety of substances on board, including petroleum products, lubricants, solvents, PCBs, metals. heavy, including lead, and other chemical compounds that warranted intervention by the Federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, particularly given the vessel’s location as a National Marine Sanctuary.
“The removal of these contaminants is obviously crucial to ensure the protection of coastal environments,” he said.
The Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9, will foot the bill for the breakdown and disposal of the larger vessel, he said.
“Funding is guaranteed,” Laughlin said.
Unified Incident Command officials representing the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Coast Guard, the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Fish and Wildlife Prevention and Response Office of the State are due to work this week on a bailout plan for the American Challenger. so it can be moved from the rocks, Laughlin said.
Lind Marine, based in Petaluma, who had consulted early on about the sinking, was tasked with dismantling the ship for recovery at its Vallejo shipyard, Laughlin said.
“It won’t happen overnight,” but it should be completed this summer, he said.
This is a developing story. Check back later for more.
You can reach editor Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or [email protected] On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.