Derelict ship could soon be removed from Hylebos Waterway

Officials met Wendesday in Tacoma to reassess the scene and begin setting up equipment to remove Helena Star

Staff writerNovember 20, 2013 

A derelict 167-foot boat that sank in Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway 10 months ago could be raised and hauled off next month.

The Helena Star went down Jan. 25, taking with it a former fishing vessel it was tied to and spilling nearly 1,000 gallons of diesel and lube oil into the water. Officials placed a containment boom to stop the rest of the spill from spreading.

The other vessel, 130-foot Golden West, was moved Oct. 16, and its owner removed from it 10,500 gallons of recyclable oil.

On Wednesday, officials with the U.S. Coast Guard, state Department of Ecology, state Department of Natural Resources and Tacoma Fire met to reassess the scene and begin setting up equipment to remove Helena Star.

The process could take weeks.

“Getting a big vessel off the bottom of the waterway is a time- consuming, expensive and dynamic process,” Ecology Department

spokeswoman Linda Kent said.

It’s unclear when crews will begin lifting the 600-ton boat. Once it is raised, any lingering petroleum products will be removed, and Helena Star will be towed to Seattle to be dismantled and recycled.

Estimated costs to pull the ship from the water are $12,000, Coast Guard Petty Officer Jordan Akiyama said.

The money will come from a federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

The price to tow away and dispose of the Helena Star is unknown at this time. The cost will be covered by a one-time legislative appropriation to DNR’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program.

Helena Star and Golden West were declared derelict and were on the state’s watch list for years before the January incident.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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