Grounded at Ocean Shores: Ecology’s response to the Tamara

The vessel Tamara sinking

The Tamara, aground near Ocean Shores.

In the morning hours of Tuesday Aug. 11, the 42-foot commercial fishing vessel Tamara ran aground near Ocean Shores on the Pacific coast. The U.S. Coast Guard received a mayday call from the vessel and dispatched a rescue team from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria. A Coast Guard helicopter was able to safely rescue both crew members on the Tamara and bring them ashore.

The Coast Guard noted there was some level of pollution escaping from the grounded vessel and notified our spills team. We were informed there was as much as 1,000 gallons of fuel on board at the time of the grounding.

We dispatched two of our Southwest Region spill responders to the scene, who worked with a Coast Guard contractor to assess the situation.

The vessel Tamara shown from the beach

Mid-day Aug. 12, 2015: Tamara visible from the beach at high tide.

On the ground, no sheen was visible, but there were reports of a diesel odor on the beach. Some debris that was likely from the Tamara had also washed onto the beach.

To get a better perspective, our spills team took to the air via helicopter. They were able to spot a notable sheen from the vessel being carried south by currents.

Oil sheen along Ocean Shores.

Oil sheen carrying south along Ocean Shores. Chance a la Mer State Park in background.

Working with the contractor, our responders attempted to reach the vessel at the next low tide (around 5 p.m. Aug. 11), but the cables and lines from the Tamara prevented them from being able to safely reach the vessel. The decision was made to try again in the morning, at the next low tide.

The vessel Tamara on the beach at low tide

Thanks to a little help from the moon with a strong minus tide, our spills team and the contractor were able to reach the vessel and pump off 630 gallons of remaining fuel and oily water from the Tamara via a vacuum truck. Responders were able to recover buckets and containers of oil, as well as other hazardous materials.

A truck removing fuel from the Tamara at low tide.

Coast Guard contractor working to remove remaining fuel from the Tamara at low tide, morning of Aug. 12.

Luckily, no oil sheen has been reported washing up on the beach. With the pollution threat minimized, the Department of Natural Resources’ Derelict Vessel Program removed the Tamara from the beach on Aug. 13.

The Tamara being demolished

The Tamara being demolished

DNR Derelict Vessel program removing the Tamara

More information on our spills program, including what to do in the event of a spill, is available on our website.