Coast Guard, Partner Agencies Remove Hazardous Materials, Oil from Fishing Vessel

Contractors in hazmat suits prepare to enter the fishing vessel Pacific Producer in Tacoma, Wash. on Sept. 1, 2023. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard.

The U.S. Coast Guard in mid-September completed the removal of fuel, oil and hazardous materials from the fishing vessel Pacific Producer in Tacoma, Wash.

The Guard, Washington Department of Ecology and the Tacoma Fire Department initially responded to a report of an anhydrous ammonia release on Aug. 13.

The vessel was determined to present a significant threat to the environment. The federal on-scene coordinator took action in the interest of protecting public health and the environment, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

During the response, hazmat crews secured the anhydrous ammonia release and removed 3,500 pounds of ammonia from the vessel. Contractors removed all miscellaneous hazmat from the vessel, including paint, flammable liquids, corrosives and pressurized gas cylinders, according to the Guard.

Additionally, due to concerns from water flowing into the vessel, 20,000 gallons of oily bilge water, 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel, as well as 14,000 gallons of miscellaneous oil and oily waste, were removed and disposed of.

“This was a complex operation that required a swift and coordinated response to ensure the protection of the public and the environment,” Coast Guard Federal on Scene Coordinator Capt. Mark McDonnell said.

The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) eventually assumed emergency custody of the vessel and brought in a contractor to stabilize it and eliminate the water intrusion.

As of late September, DNR and Coast Guard crews from Sector Puget Sound were communicating regarding a plan of action for disposition of the vessel.