Department of Ecology News Release - November 17, 2016

Owners fined for sunken fishing vessel on Washington coast

ILWACO  –  The owners of a fishing vessel that crashed into Jetty A and sank near Ilwaco on the Washington side of the Columbia River on Dec. 5, 2014, were issued a $10,500 penalty and ordered to reimburse the state $8,000 for the cost of its response to the incident.

The 78-foot fishing vessel Titan went down with approximately 4,600 gallons of oil and fuel on board. The crash and spill left a visible oil sheen on the Columbia River for three days. Fifty-thousand pounds of crab were also lost. It was the Titan’s maiden fishing trip.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) launched a successful 3 a.m. rescue mission of the five crew members after the vessel struck the jetty and water flooded the engine room. The vessel was secured to the jetty, but shifted to the southwest. Weather, tides and currents prevented crews three separate times from salvaging the vessel.
"Safety was a huge factor in this response," said David Byers, response section manager. "A series of storms hampered our ability to salvage the vessel without putting our responders at risk."

On Jan. 7, 2015, divers found the Titan on the bottom of the Columbia River in Washington waters still tethered to its anchor and its stern covered with sand. Attempts to salvage the vessel were unsuccessful due to strong currents and concerns about diver safety. A joint decision was made by the USCG, Ecology and the vessel owner’s salvage contractor to leave the vessel in place.

A Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) will be determined by a committee comprised of several state agencies (Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Health, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the State Parks and Recreation Commission) and chaired by Ecology. 

Contact information

Lisa Copeland
Communications manager
Jeff Fishel
Spills program