Pleasure craft Iver 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 Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard responded this morning to the partial sinking of the vessel Iver at its mooring on Salmon Bay in Seattle.

Summary information

Date of incident:  September 30, 2013

Lake Washington Ship Canal

Type of incident: Unknown amount of fuel and motor oil
Cause of incident: Unknown
Responsible party: Private owner

Status updates

October 2, 2013

Cleanup status update:

The Iver had too many hull leaks to float on its own, despite hours of attempts, after a crane lifted it to the surface yesterday. While rigged to the floating crane, tugboats moved the Iver and the crane barge to a boatyard near Fishermen’s Terminal.

The yard provides a closed work area that contains oil leaks and spills. As water is removed from the vessel, a vacuum truck draws off the oily water.

Crews continued to patrol for and clean up patches of oil on the north shore of Salmon Bay. They recovered approximately 100 gallons Tuesday, bringing the total estimated oil recovery above 850 gallons. Ecology continues to gather information for a final spill-volume figure.

With the Iver secured from further spills to the water, Ecology and the Coast Guard will oversee the remaining on-scene response activity today and prepare to bring the cleanup effort to a close.

October 1, 2013

Divers sealed off fuel system air vent openings late yesterday on the Iver. They found it not possible to remove all diesel oil in the fuel tanks. Clean-up crews used a vacuum truck to remove oil and oily water divers found in the Iver’s cabin. 

Also late yesterday crews also finished cleanup at facilities across Salmon Bay where oil had been found.  Fresh oil-absorbing materials were set out for the night there and around the Iver. A small crew remained on duty at the Iver overnight to tend the boom and pads and operate a small skimmer. Cleanup crews recovered an estimated 750 gallons between the cross bay facilities, oil removed from the Iver and skimming around it.

This morning another dive crew is preparing the Iver for lifting by setting straps, cable and chains in place.  Crews will connect this rigging to a crane barge to raise the vessel. Divers will attempt to locate and patch any hull leaks. Crews will deploy pumps to remove water from the hull. The vessel will remain rigged to the crane barge until it can float on its own.

Cleanup crews will surround the vessel with oil spill containment boom and clean-up material and equipment.

A crane barge raised the Iver to the surface this morning and continues to hold the vessel as workers locate and patch leaks in the hull. The crane will disconnect from the Iver when the vessel can float on its own.  

Very little oil came off the vessel during the mid-morning lift, which took about an hour. 

Cleanup crews continue to clean pockets of oil along the northern side of the ship canal. Shore-side businesses are providing good access for this cleanup work.

September 29, 2013

The Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard responded this morning to the partial sinking of the vessel Iver at its mooring on Salmon Bay in Seattle. The Iver’s stern is resting in shallow water, while the bow is afloat.

The US Coast Guard has hired an environmental contractor to provide cleanup services.

An unknown amount of fuel and motor oil are aboard the Iver, which has a fuel capacity estimated at approximately 1,700 gallons. Fuel began leaking when the stern went under. Marina staff surrounded the vessel with oil-absorbent pads and hard boom. This has contained most of the fuel which is flowing into the water from fuel tank vents. A thin coating, or sheen, of oil can been seen in Salmon bay.

The Coast Guard received a report of the sinking from the vessel’s caretaker at 7:30 a.m. Ecology received notice at 8:06 a.m.

Ecology and the Coast Guard will oversee efforts to plug the vents from which fuel is escaping, to contain and clean up spilled oil, remove fuel and oil from the vessel and to plan to re-float it.

Vessel Background:
The Iver is a wood-hull tugboat, converted for residential use. Built in 1925 as the Angeles Merilyn. Registered length is 65.3 feet, with a breadth of 15.9 feet and a hull depth of 9.9 feet. 
Cleanup Status:
Ecology and the Coast Guard formed a unified command this morning to jointly oversee the response to the Iver sinking. Workers from National Response Corp. - Environmental Services, an environmental cleanup contractor, are removing diesel oil from the water surface around the Iver. Crews are using various types of oil-absorbing materials in this effort. These include sausage boom, long tube shaped pads, and two small oil skimming devices. 
The unified command has gathered more information about the amount of fuel potentially involved in this incident. The Iver has two tanks, one of which is empty. The other has a capacity of approximately 2,000 gallons and contained 600 to 800 gallons.
The vessel sank in the early morning, between 2:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Based on the amount of time since the sinking, the amount of diesel oil released to the water is 150 to 200 gallons.
A team from Ballard Diving has begun underwater work on the Iver. Divers will try to empty the fuel tank, or at least seal it, before sunset today. Planning will then proceed to re-float the vessel.
Meanwhile, Ecology has responded to reports of diesel fuel on the water at a marina, a fuel dock and other locations across Salmon Bay from the Iver. Crews at these locations have used oil-absorbent pads for cleanup. Ecology has sampled this oil for lab tests to determine whether this oil is from the Iver sinking. Today’s wind pattern suggests this may be the case. 


Media contact

Larry Altose, Media contact,, 425-649-7009