Governor Inslee signs derelict vessel bill into law

Photo of the Deep Sea surrounded by oil containment boom.
Deep Sea is raised June 3, 2012, from where it sank in Penn Cove on Whidbey Island. Photo: DNR

Flanked by representatives of the marine trades, business, legislature, environmental community, DNR, the Washington Department of Ecology, and others, Gov. Jay Inslee today signed into law a bill that will strengthen the state’s ability to address derelict and abandoned vessels.

In the past year alone, several high-profile incidents caught the attention of the public and legislators—raising awareness about the problems these vessels cause to the environment, public safety, and the state’s economy.

Just a little more than a year ago, the 140-foot former crab-fishing vessel, the Deep Sea, caught fire and sank in Penn Cove. This unfortunate incident cause a world-renown shellfish farm to shut down for nearly a month.

The new law (ESHB 1245) holds vessel owners more accountable, helps prevent vessels from becoming derelict in the first place, improves enforcement, and shores up funding to help the state deal with these vessels.

Read more in our news release.

DNR manages the Derelict Vessel Removal Program, which provides funding and expertise to assist public agencies remove and dispose of vessels all over the state.

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