Coast Guard responds to sinking fishing vessel near Port Angeles, Wash.

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard responded to a 50-ft fishing vessel taking on water in Fresh Water Bay approximately two miles west of Port Angeles at 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

The vessel, owned by Canadian tribal fishermen began taking on water following a brief grounding. Pumps on the vessel were unable to keep up with the intake of water, resulting in diesel fuel and engine oil beginning to leak into the water.

A Coast Guard Station Port Angeles small boat crew took the four fishermen off the sinking vessel, added pumps to assist with the dewatering, and once the vessel re-stabilized, began towing the vessel to a safe mooring in Port Angeles Harbor.

The fishing vessel continues to release fuel and oil into the water.

Initial estimates are that the vessel contains approximately 2,500 gallons total of diesel fuel onboard. Thus far an oily sheen of approximate size one mile by ten feet has been reported released.

The Coast Guard is working with the vessel master to hire contractors to place oil boom around and pump any remaining fuel off of the vessel once it is moored in Port Angeles Harbor in order to mitigate the threat of further pollution.

Washington State Dept of Ecology and Coast Guard pollution investigators and Coast Guard vessel inspectors are en route the vessel’s prospective mooring location to investigate and inspect for damage.

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