Ruth Louise sinking

(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 state Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard, West Bay Marina and the Nisqually Indian Tribe Marine Division responded to a sunken vessel at West Bay Marina in Olympia. Neither the amount of fuel on board nor the cause of the sinking is known at this time.

Summary information

Date of incident:  October 21, 2013

West Bay Marina, Olympia, WA

Type of incident: Unknown quantity of red dye diesel
Cause of incident: Unknown
Responsible party: Private owner

Status updates

March 10, 2014

The Ruth Louise was successfully raised and removed from the water at West Bay Marina today. It was placed on a flat-deck barge and will be moved to Tacoma for proper recycling and disposal. Oil containment boom surrounded the vessel throughout the operation as a precaution. 

March 6, 2014

Preparations to lift the Ruth Louise, which sank at Olympia’s West Bay Marina in October, begin today. The lift, planned for next week, will involve raising the Ruth Louise a short distance off the bottom, laying out a heavy-duty net and using a crane to lift the vessel with the net underneath to minimize the chances of the vessel breaking apart. During the operation, oil containment boom will continue surrounding the vessel, and spill response equipment will staged for rapid deployment in case there is any oil release due to residual fuel and lube oil remaining on the vessel.  

November 1, 2013

Divers from Global Diving & Salvage, a U.S. Coast Guard contractor, entered the engine room of the Ruth Louise today to assess and remove any hazardous materials. Up to 60 gallons of diesel was discovered in a tank on the portside and removed.

In the coming weeks, West Bay Marina will be working with the state Department of Natural Resources and Ecology to evaluate options for removing the vessel from the bottom in safe and protective ways. The Coast Guard will keep containment boom around the vessel due in case residual oil comes from the vessel.

The cause of the vessel sinking is still under investigation.

On Thursday, Global used a crane to lift the 80-foot-wooden hull boat to assess and patch it. The vessel's hull was determined to be too deteriorated and weak to patch and safely move by normal methods.

October 25, 2013

The 80-foot live-aboard boat Ruth Louise remains sunken at an outer dock at West Bay Marina. It continues to release small amounts of residual oil that create sheen at the surface. Hard oil-containment boom and absorbent materials remain in place around the vessel. No sheen is being observed outside the hard boom that surrounds the vessel.

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to oversee response actions, and has retained contractor Global Diving & Salvage. Meanwhile, West Bay Marina is developing a plan for raising the vessel next week, which is subject to approval by the Coast Guard. The cause of the sinking remains under investigation.
Ecology and Coast Guard responders will continue to monitor the vessel over the weekend and into next week.

October 22, 2013

Global Diving and Salvage is maintaining oil containment boom around the live-aboard boat Ruth Louise and has changed out absorbent materials to address a small amount of sheen seen surrounding the vessel after it sank. The sheen that has been seen is believed to be coming from residue in engine space.

No one was on the boat when it sank early Monday morning, October 21, 2013. The cause of the sinking remains under investigation.

Global divers who assessed the boat’s port side reported that, of the three fuel tanks on the boat, one was empty and two were filled with water, which means the oil pollution threat is lower than originally suspected. Another tank on the boat contains sewage. Divers are unable to investigate the starboard side of the boat at this time due to safety concerns.

Vessel removal actions are still being determined by the U.S. Coast Guard, West Bay Marina, Ecology and the Department of Natural Resources. The ability of the boat owner to participate in removal efforts also is undetermined at this time.

There are no dive operations planned for today.

October 21, 2013

The state Department of Ecology, U.S. Coast Guard, West Bay Marina, and the Nisqually Indian Tribe Marine Division responded to a sunken 80-foot wooden-hulled vessel at West Bay Marina in Olympia about 8:15 a.m. The vessel owner has been contacted, but is not involved in the response at this time.

The Nisqually Indian Tribe Marine Division assisted in deploying hard oil-containment boom as well as absorbent materials, and Global Diving and Salvage was later hired to provide dive services.

The boat is named the Ruth Louise.

Neither the amount of fuel on board nor the cause of the sinking is known at this time. State and federal authorities have responders and investigators at the site to assess the situation and plan next steps.

Media contact

Ty Keltner, Media contact,, 360-407-6990