The last of the wrecked fishing vessel Bergen was pulled out of Bellingham Bay and the beach cleaned up as the salvage operation wrapped up Tuesday, March 15.
“The beach cleanup is complete. At this point, there’s no sheen, no smell,” Ecology spokeswoman Krista Kenner said.
An estimated 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel was on board the boat when it ran aground last week. As much as 1,000 gallons may have spilled into the bay, although a more accurate estimate will come later.
A sheen could be seen in the area, which also smelled strongly of diesel, in the days following the shipwreck.
Three fishermen were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard early last Thursday when the commercial fishing boat broke free from its moorage in a windstorm with gusts of 70 mph.
The 52-foot wooden boat hit a seawall south of Seaview Avenue, after drifting about 300 yards to the west.
The boat, which was built in 1939 and based in Gig Harbor, had been moored near Bellingham Cold Storage, 2825 Roeder Ave., as the crew prepared for a three-month trip to Bristol Bay to fish for black cod.
Getting the heavily damaged boat out of the bay was challenging because of weather, including a second though less fierce windstorm that blew in on Sunday, and conditions in the bay. Crews couldn’t continue the salvage over the weekend and waited until Tuesday to resume the work.
And they couldn’t use a larger clamshell basket that would’ve helped speed the cleanup because the wreckage was in shallow water.
Two big garbage containers, which could hold a combined total of 60 yards, were full with Bergen debris found on the beach.
Global Diving and Salvage pulled the Bergen, pieces at a time, out of Bellingham Bay.
The insurance for the fishing vessel is paying for the salvage.