Summary Statement / Investigation Report
The wreck of the SS Catala is completely removed and the beach at Damon Point State Park near Ocean Shores, Washington is on its way to a full restoration thanks to a 17-month multi-agency effort to protect the sensitive area from the threat of a major oil spill.
The Catala, part of Northwest lore, ran aground during a storm on January 1, 1965. Years later, after the upper portions of the ship were cut off, the hull was buried in the sand. Time, winds and tides shifted the beach, once again exposing the rusty remains. Then, in April 2006, a beachcomber poked a stick into an opening on the hull’s side and discovered an oily, thick sludge inside.
The state Department of Ecology (Ecology) and four other natural resource agencies quickly teamed up to plan the cleanup of oil from the Catala and prevent the threat of an oil spill from her unstable tanks.
May to October 2007
Season 2 of Catala Oil Remediation Project. Remaining oil contaminated sand & tank to be cleaned; ship cut up and removed; site restored.
October 20, 2006
Work on Catala Oil Remediation Project is suspended for winter.
Update Information: The steel wall enclosing all four sides of the Catala was completed in late September. Contractors has gained access to four of five tanks in the hull. These four tanks have been emptied and cleaned. Oil sludge that coated much of the inside of the hull has been cleaned off.
The site will be closed down for the winter on October 17th by removing all equipment, vehicles and supplies. The pump that has been removing water from inside the steel wall will be shut off and the hull will be covered with water to help keep it stable. The site will be monitored on a routine basis and after storms.
Related Information: A security fence will be installed on top of the steel wall. An interpretive sign posted in the Damon Point State Park parking lot will provide information on what the ship looked like prior to flooding with water. The public is asked to not attempt to get inside the steel wall because it is unsafe; there are no artifacts remaining in the ship.
Oil removal efforts will begin again next summer. This will involve pumping water down to a level low enough that workers can reach the stern tank, remove any oil remaining and clean the tank. The Washington Department of Natural Resources will seek funding to remove the remaining hull from Damon Point. The removal of the hull will be coordinated with Ecology's oil removal project to minimize any contamination of water or sand and impacts to the bird habitat.
Artifacts recovered from the ship include two posts from the grand stair way, a wooden door, and a small anchor. These have been donated to the Ocean Shores Interpretive Center and may be seen at some time in 2007. The Ocean Shores Interpretive Center has obtained many artifacts from the SS Catala over the years from various donors. These are on display at the Center during normal visiting hours. The location and hours of operation may be obtained from: http://www.oceanshoresinterpretivecenter.com/
Amount of Oil Recovered: As of October 4th, the following amounts of oil and contaminated materials have been removed from the Catala:
- 24,500 gallons of heavy fuel oil recovered; sent to a waste oil processing facility for recycling in to other industrial fuels
- 1,358 cubic yards of sand contaminated with oil removed and shipped for disposal in a landfill
- 1,382 cubic yards of clean sand stock piled on site for use in restoring the site
- Over 290,000 gallons of water contaminated with oil (includes the 25,000 gallons of oil recovered) shipped off site for treatment
July to October 2006
Catala Oil Remediation Project, first season of work to remove oil.
May to June 2006
Ecology surveys ship; confirms heavy oil in at least 3 tanks. Looks at options for removal of oil.
Oil in hull reported to Ecology & US Coast Guard.