Crews won't remove sunken fishing boat near Point Roberts

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 13, 2013 

POINT ROBERTS - A commercial fishing boat that sank off the coast of Point Roberts will stay where it rests, according to the state Department of Ecology.

The 50-foot wooden boat, which capsized with five crew members onboard Sept. 5, is too deep to excavate safely, said Ecology spokesman Dustin Terpening.

"It's resting at just more than 200 feet below the water," he said. "It would be extremely risky and dangerous to pull the boat out."

The Coast Guard rescued all five people from the Sea Breaker. It was unclear what caused the boat to sink.

The crew reported 800 gallons of diesel fuel and 25 gallons of lube oil onboard. During a Coast Guard helicopter flight over the site Sept. 6, a patchy oil sheen could be seen within a 4- to 5-mile radius, said Lt. Regina Caffrey, a Coast Guard public affairs officer.

By Tuesday, Sept. 10, no sheen was visible from the air, Terpening said.

Though an oil spill contractor responded to the leak with booms and absorbent pads, crews were unsuccessful in containing the spill, he said. The estimated amount of pollutants leaked will not be available until an official report is released, Terpening said.

Based on area tides, wind and the kind of spill, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association did not expect any of the oil to reach or impact the shoreline habitat, Terpening said.

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