Sunken vessel leaks oil at West Bay Marina

jpawloski@theolympian.comOctober 22, 2013 

The Ruth Louise sank at Olympia’s West Bay Marina overnight Sunday. Crews responded to contain leaking fuel.


The state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Coast Guard worked together to contain an oil spill at the West Bay Marina in Olympia after an 80-foot wooden-hulled vessel, the Ruth Louise, sank there Sunday night.

As of Monday morning, officials with the Nisqually Indian Tribe Marine Division had deployed an oil-containment boom around the sunken boat, as well as absorbent materials.

Leaking oil was visible in the water in and around the marina, Doug Stolz, a hazardous materials specialist with the Department of Ecology, said.

The smell of leaking oil was obvious at the scene Monday. Two Department of Ecology hazardous response trucks were parked in the marina about 11 a.m..

“Any oil in the water is a concern for us,” Stolz said.

The sunken boat was reported to Ecology about 8:15 a.m. Monday. The sunken boat is located at the end of West Bay Marina’s B Dock, the farthest area of the marina from the shore. The amount of fuel on board and why the boat sank were both unknown Monday.

Bruce Leonard, a West Bay Marina employee said the Ruth Louise had not sunk as of Sunday evening, but it had sunk when he woke up at the marina Monday morning.

State, federal and tribal authorities were on the scene investigating Monday and planning for the next step.

All oil spills cause environmental damage, regardless of size, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard and Ecology. Oil is toxic to the environment and the damage starts as soon as the oil hits the water, the release states. A single quart has the potential to foul more than 100,000 gallons of water.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445

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