Sheen (not Charlie) prompts firefighter response

An oily sheen suspected of coming from a boat that has caused a headache for Port of Coupeville officials prompted a response from port staff and Central Whidbey firefighters.

The harbormaster arrived at the Coupeville Wharf Sunday morning and noticed an oily sheen around the Carpe-Diem, a 37-foot sailboat the Port of Coupeville acquired and auctioned off last month.

Port Executive Director Jim Patton said the harbormaster called firefighters for assistance and they responded within 10 minutes.

In the meantime, the harbormaster and the port’s dockhand deployed an oil containment boom to surround the sheen. He estimated it covered between 20 and 25 square feet and the oil wasn’t thick or producing an odor.

“It turned out there was no leak from the Carpe-Diem,” Patton said. He suspected that the occupants of one of the other vessels that had previously moored at the Coupeville Wharf may have dropped an oily rag into the water, which caused the sheen to appear.

The Carpe-Diem has been moored at the Coupeville Wharf for months after its previous owner, Peter Driftmeyer, could no longer safely live on the vessel. Because of the mounting moorage fees, the Port of Coupeville took possession of the sailboat and auctioned it off in March. Alex Butowicz, of Olympia, submitted the winning bid of $1,251.

The sailboat still remained moored at the wharf. Patton said Butowicz has since resold the sailboat to a couple from Canada.

He hopes the boat will be removed from the Wharf by May 8. That’s when the moorage fees at the wharf increase to take advantage of the busy tourist season.


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