Fuel pier breaks away in Coupeville

Vendors at the Coupeville Wharf noticed something unusual when they came to work Sunday morning. One of the 40-foot-long fuel piers nearly floated away.

The steel securing plates on one of the concrete floats rusted and decayed to the point where they broke sometime Saturday night. Fortunately a rope prevented the pier from floating too far away.

There are two 40-foot fuel piers located at the end of the Coupeville Wharf. Jim Patton, executive director for the Port of Coupeville, stressed that the fuel lines weren’t near the pier when it broke away Saturday night. Port staff was able to tie the pier on the landward side of the 50-foot wooden mooring float.

Officials had known about the deteriorating securing plates prior to Saturday’s incident. The port had contracted with Superior Systems of Mount Vernon to fabricate new plates. However, that equipment has been delayed.

“I don’t know where the plates are or whether they even exist,” Patton said. He was heading to Mount Vernon Monday to meet with officials from Superior Systems.

Boats, such as the ones from Penn Cove Shellfish, can still use the remaining pier for fueling. However, larger vessels won’t be able to fuel at the Coupeville Wharf until the repairs are complete, Patton said.

The Mystic Sea, which is currently providing passenger ferry service on the Keystone to Port Townsend route, operates whale-watching tours this spring from the Coupeville Wharf. The Mystic Sea is scheduled to start offering tours from Coupeville during the Penn Cove Mussel Festival, which takes place the first weekend in March.

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