Fishing Vessel Clam Digger 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.)

A 59-foot fishing vessel – the Clam Digger – began taking on water at approximately 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, near Guemes Island, causing it to sink.

Summary information

Date of incident:  July 10, 2013

Bellingham Channel, Anacortes, WA

Type of incident: Potentially 1600 gallons of diesel and 20 tons of fish food
Cause of incident: Unknown
Responsible party: American Gold Seafoods

Status updates

July 13, 2013

Conditions improved allowing crews to remove the vessel. The vessel arrived at Lovric's Sea-Craft dry dock storage at approximately 2:30 pm. A private company has been hired by the vessel owner to remove remaining oil and other liquids from the holding tanks.

July 16, 2013

Crews attempted to raise the vessel again today. Weather conditions and modifications to the vessel prevented completion of the removal effort.

July 15, 2013

Crews have rigged lines from the vessel to a crane and attempted to raise it. Wind and swells picked up, making the removal difficult. Crews have suspended the removal effort and will make an attempt again on Tuesday.

July 14, 2013

Crews removed the external fuel tank. An estimated 5 to 10 gallons of red-dye diesel spilled when the tank reached the surface and up-righted.

July 13, 2013

Divers successfully rigged lines from the crane to the vessel and were able to shift the vessel off the fuel tank. The vessel had pinned the 700-gallon fuel tank to the sea floor. Drivers rigged lines to the tank, but did not have enough time to remove it. They will try again on Sunday.
Some hydraulic oil bubbled to the surface while moving the vessel. NRCES deployed a sweep and sausage boom, and captured most of the hydraulic oil.

July 12, 2013

Divers determined that a sheen on the surface is from a 50-gallon hydraulic oil tank on the vessel.

July 11, 2013

Ecology brought the mobile command vehicle to Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes, Wash., where an Incident Command Post was established.
The Coast Guard, National Response Corporation Environmental Services, Global Diving and Salvage, and Washington State Department of Ecology are coordinating the pollution mitigation and salvage of the 59-foot fishing vessel.
An air crew from Air Station Port Angeles, Wash., conducted an over flight in the morning with no reports of sheen or pollution.

The responsible party is American Gold Seafood, Icicle Seafood.
The estimate for fuel onboard was revised to 1,600 gallons. Seven hundred gallons are in a double-walled fuel tank that was on the deck.   
Thus far the response crews have found that the tides are much higher/lower and the currents are much faster than predicted, which is complicating dive efforts. Divers have been unsuccessful attempting to raise the fuel tank and fishing vessel.

July 10, 2013

A 59-foot fishing vessel – the Clam Digger – began taking on water at approximately 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10, near Guemes Island. The vessel sank.
The Victoria Clipper ferry responded to the scene and rescued one person. The Coast Guard arrived shortly after and transferred the person off the ferry.
The vessel was reported to be carrying approximately 2,700 to 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The Coast Guard reported a rainbow sheen around the vessel.

Media contact

Dustin Terpening, Media contact,, 360-715-5205