Two vessels spill & are sinking in Hoquiam River

(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)
The most current information about our response to two vessels that sank on Oct. 17, 2018, and are leaking fuel into the Hoquiam River. 

Summary information

Date of incident: October 17, 2018 -
Location: 220 Monroe Street, Hoquiam, Washington, Grays Harbor County (map)
Type of incident: Diesel, amount unknown
Cause of incident: Under investigation
Responsible party:
a boat is submerged under the water and is surrounded by protective boom material

View of one of the submerged vessels in the Hoquiam River

Status updates

See photos on our Flickr site

Oct. 19, 2018
Today, divers assess the feasibility of safely removing the fuel from the sunken vessels and find it to be unsafe because one of the vessels is laying upon the other, making it unsafe to access the fuel tanks.

The EPA, state Fish & Wildlife, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife observe no impacts from the spill at the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and found no dead fish or oiled wildlife. Cleanup contractors continue to work aggressively to contain and clean-up the spill. They will continue to work at the site as long as it takes.

Oct. 18, 2018
Ecology, EPA, and Global Diving & Salvage are on-scene to continue the cleanup of the oil that has already spilled to the river. Unified Command continues to work with the property owner to raise the vessels and remove the fuel aboard them.

Additional Ecology responders, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the Quinault Tribe continue to assess up and downstream impacts, conduct wildlife surveys, and collect water samples.

The property owner is unable to raise the vessels or remove fuel from them. Lab results indicate the vessels are releasing diesel to the Hoquiam River.

Oct. 17, 2018
Ecology is notified this morning that two vessels are sinking in the Hoquiam River near 220 Monroe Street and that there was an oil sheen in the river. The vessels are reportedly approximately 45 feet long, one with a concrete hull and the other with a wooden and fiberglass hull. This area is the same location where four vessels had previously sunk, the most recent was the Lady Grace in March of 2018, a vessel that is still laying on the river bottom, and partially exposed.

Our responders arrived at the scene in the early afternoon, and find that the property owner has ineffectively placed oil containment boom around the sunken vessels. In coordination with our federal partner, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we formed a Unified Command, and hired environmental cleanup contractor Global Diving & Salvage to place containment boom around the vessels and absorbent pads in the water. State Fish & Wildlife and additional responders helped assess up and downstream impacts, conducted wildlife surveys, and collected water samples.

It appears that the two vessels are tied together and when one started sinking, it pulled the second into the water as well.

The property owner says he owns one of the vessels. Unified Command gives him one day to remove his vessel and the fuel from the water. The owner of the second vessel is unable to be reached despite multiple attempts to contact him.

News releases

Media contact

Sandy Howard, Communications Manager, sandy.howard@ecy.wa.gov, 360-407-6990, @EcologyWA