LONGVIEW, Ore. – A large boat sank about five miles west of Longview Tuesday, causing a significant oil spill in the Columbia River.
The Coast Guard and Department of Ecology were working to contain the spill. People were warned not to swim or fish in the Willow Grove Park area until the visible spill has dissipated. Pet owners were also urged to keep their animals away from the area.
The sunken vessel, the Granby, was built in 1929. It is a wood-hulled trawler but was no longer being used for commercial purposes. The Granby potentially could have 600 gallons of oil on board, including diesel fuel, according to Linda Kent with the Washington State Department of Ecology.
“Responders and investigators are at the site working on cleanup. The boat owner hired the response contractors and is cooperating with Ecology and the Coast Guard,” she said. “Response crews have placed oil-containment boom and oil-absorbing pads around the 75-foot vessel. Divers who will assist with further cleanup strategies are en route to the scene.”
Oil spilled into water typically forms oily patches that spread out quickly and can cover many acres of water. Kent explained that all oil spills cause environmental damage, regardless of size.
The owner of the boat reported the capsizing around 7 a.m. and was fully cooperating with authorities. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
"Just got to live with it," said Tom Teseniar, who owns a nearby boat. "Help your neighbor where you can."