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Sunken boat in Penn Cove boat is leaking diesel by the minute

A floating oil boom is the only evidence left on the surface of Penn Cove after a 128-foot derelict crab boat sank early Sunday evening. The boat had caught fire the day before. - Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times
A floating oil boom is the only evidence left on the surface of Penn Cove after a 128-foot derelict crab boat sank early Sunday evening. The boat had caught fire the day before.
— image credit: Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

A 128-foot crab boat that started on fire and then sank to the bottom of Penn Cove over the weekend is leaking one to two gallons of diesel fuel per minute, according to a press release from the Coast Guard.

The leak is being contained with two layers of containment boom and a third layer due to be in place. A boom deployment vessel and an oil recovery vessel are at the site near Coupeville. In addition, a Ballard Diving and Salvage dive team is siphoning diesel from the vessel's fuel tanks.

So far, approximately 550 gallons of fuel and 30 bags of absorbent pads have been recovered.

The containment has successfully kept the contaminants away from the nearby Penn Cove Shellfish mussel rafts. Limitations on harvests are not necessary, but the company has voluntarily suspended the activity as a precaution.

The list of agencies involved in cleanup and monitoring includes the Coast Guard, the state Department of Ecology, the state Department of Health, the state Department of Natural Resources and the Island County Health Department.

The Coast Guard is working with the state agencies to determine the best way to remove the vessel, which is in 60 feet of water.

The Deep Sea caught fire at around 11 p.m. Saturday. Fire boats worked for hours extinguishing flames, but the blaze continued below deck. The vessel sank at about 6 p.m. Sunday.

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