Department of Ecology News Release - March 1, 2024

Fish tender fined for fuel spill to Lake Washington Ship Canal


The Washington Department of Ecology is issuing a $22,000 penalty to Coastal Transportation Inc. for negligence in operations during a fuel transfer that led to diesel spilling into the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle.

On Feb. 2, 2023, the fish tender, Coastal Navigator, was receiving 35,000 gallons of diesel. Oil spill boom surrounded the operation, as required by Ecology’s regulations. An hour after the transfer started, crews observed fuel spilling from a starboard-side tank vent onto the main deck. The transfer was halted and crews deployed additional absorbent boom. By that time, some of the fuel had reached the water.

Subsequent investigation found the crew left a valve open to a tank they did not intend to fill, did not successfully close the scupper, and failed to test a high-level alarm. The company also failed to fill out and follow its oil transfer procedures, fueling checklist, and other documents.

Based on the investigation, Ecology is holding the company accountable for the spill and negligence for not following procedures.

This is the third time since 2001 that Coastal Transportation has had a spill. Each of those was caused by failing to close valves to tanks not intended to be filled. Ecology issued negligence penalties at the time of those prior events, which the company paid.

The penalty may be appealed to the Pollution Control Hearings Board within 30 days.

Contact information

Ty Keltner
Twitter: ecyseattle