Coast Guard responds to sunken tug on Columbia River

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The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(WARRENTON, Ore.) — Coast Guard and Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality personnel are responding to the sunken 82-foot tug Earnest, on the Columbia River, which sank Sunday evening in Goble.

Incident Management Division Portland personnel from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and contracted Ballard Diving to address any oil or other sources of pollution on the vessel Monday morning. 

Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received the report of the sunken vessel at 8:49 p.m., Sunday, via a report from the National Response Center. 

The owner of the wooden-hulled vessel, Clay Jonak, reported only 100 gallons of residual diesel fuel was onboard the vessel when it sank. Oil spill containment boom was deployed around the area where the vessel sank. National Response Corp. personnel deployed boom around the vessel to minimize further environmental impact.

Divers from Ballard Diving removed a total of 300 gallons of oil product from five tanks on the sunken vessel, and containment boom will remain around the vessel overnight.

"The Coast Guard and several Oregon State agencies have been monitoring the Goble site for several years," said Capt. David Berliner, deputy  commander, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. "The Coast Guard has used the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund to conduct more than $200,000 worth of cleanup operations."

Jonak owns several old tugs and barges in the Goble area, and has been attempting to scrap or salvage them.

No hazards to navigation or affected wildlife have been reported.

By Professional Mariner Staff