Late Friday afternoon, the Washington State Legislature gave their seal of approval to legislation that strengthens the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Derelict Vessel Removal Program while alleviating the taxpayers’ burden.
Both houses have passed the bill, ESHB 1245. The next step is for the House to concur on Senate amendments to the bill. Then, the bill will proceed to the Governor’s Office for signature.
Before the bill was introduced this legislative session, DNR met with stakeholders to listen to their ideas on how to address the growing problem of derelict and abandoned vessels in Washington’s waters. We met with many diverse groups, but everyone shared a common concern for the health and safety of our state’s waterways.
Stakeholders included legislators; recreational boaters; tribal governments; shellfish growers; local, state, and federal agencies; commercial fishing industry representatives; marine trade associations; ports; and conservation groups.
Thanks to everyone who participated in these discussions. And a big thanks to the legislators who worked so hard to pass this vital bill.
The following selection of media coverage about recent derelict vessel crises illustrates the need to strengthen the state’s derelict vessel program:
- Abandon-ed ships (Skagit Valley Herald, April 14, 2013)
- State orders removal of derelict Tacoma ship (Seattle Times, April 2, 2013)
- Give DNR more tools to deal with derelict vessels (Tacoma News Tribune editorial, March 20, 2013)
- Editorial: State needs to get tougher on derelict vessels (Seattle Times, February 4, 2013)
- Two derelict ships sink at Tacoma marina (KING 5 TV, February 25, 2013)
- Sinking incident points to state’s struggle with derelict vessels (KPLU/NPR, January 25, 2013)
- DNR takes possession of derelict boat in Port Ludlow (Peninsula Daily News, January 3, 2013)
- Taxpayers on the hook for state’s derelict boats (KOMO 4 News, October 26, 2012)
- Ballard Diving & Salvage raises derelict vessel from Sinclair Inlet (Port Orchard Independent, October 25, 2012)
- Sunken boat to be removed from Port Orchard waterfront (October 21, 2012)
- Derelict vessels create headaches on NW waters (Seattle Times, September 9, 2012)
- The Deep Sea Debacle: State needs to address threat of derelict boats (Seattle Times Guest Editorial, June 12, 2013)
- Sunken crab boat could be raised Sunday (Whidbey News-Times, May 30, 2012)
- Sunken fishing boat is leaking fuel, endangering marine life (KOMO 4 News, May 14, 2012)
- Famed shellfish in jeopardy after boat fire, sinking (Seattle PI, May 13, 2012)
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