Those responsible for an abandoned 167-foot boat that sank in the Hylebos Waterway in January need to remove it, state Department of Ecology officials said Monday.
The department issued an emergency enforcement order, which requires parties responsible for the Helena Star to come up with a plan within seven days for raising the steel hull vessel.
If they don’t present a plan, the state could contract out the work and charge them for it instead.
The boat was derelict when it sank Jan. 25, according to the order, which names three people connected with the boat and their businesses.
The state and U.S. Coast Guard hired contractors to remove between 10 and 100 gallons of oil that was released after the sinking. Those contractors are maintaining an oil containment boom, as the vessel has continued discharging small amounts of residual oil.
Toxins from the vessel’s paint, equipment and other materials could also be released into the waterway, based on the ship’s type and age, according to the state.
The Helena Star is tangled with another boat, the Golden West, at the head of the Hylebos Waterway.
The roughly 130-foot Golden West is afloat, but may be at risk of sinking, and could be the subject of a separate enforcement order later, according to the Department of Ecology.
According to the order:
Stephen Mason had been in control of the vessels, had them towed to their current location and operated Mason Marine Services on the shore nearby, until he declared bankruptcy in February 2012.
West East Co., which towed the boat, and Hansan Corp., which at one point had an agreement to salvage the vessel with Mason Marine Services, also are named in the order.
Attempts to reach Mason for comment were unsuccessful Monday.
The Coast Guard issued two orders to him in 2012, one for each boat, requiring him to remove all petroleum products and hazardous materials from the vessels.
The Helena Star threatened to discharge an estimated 8,000 gallons of petroleum products, according to an order issued March 2, 2012.
The Coast Guard eventually hired a company to remove 6,500 gallons of surrounding oily water, 200 pounds of waste paints, 5 pounds of aerosol cans and 14 fire extinguishers from the boats. The company also temporarily patched the Golden West.
Mason proposed both vessels be moved to a nearby metal recycler, but Ecology officials said the facility was not equipped with permits to do so.
To comment on the order, call 360-407-6328 or email email@example.com from April 11 to May 13.