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Boat sinks at Capron's Landing; 35-40 gallons of fuel leak into harbor

Top photo: A-1 Marine salvage workers lift the Straits Explorer using inflatable bags and pumps, March 30 at Capron
Top photo: A-1 Marine salvage workers lift the Straits Explorer using inflatable bags and pumps, March 30 at Capron's Landing. The boat sank overnight at its moorage. Second photo: Islands Oil Spill Association volunteers place absorbent pads in a neighboring slip to contain fuel. Third photo: Neighbors watch the salvage operation. Bottom photo: Five absorbent pads will hold 1 gallon of fuel. The boat leaked 35-40 gallons of fuel into the harbor, according to IOSA's Jackie Wolf.
— image credit: Richard Walker

A 36- or 38-foot boat sank at its moorage at Capron's Landing late March 29 or early March 30, leaking 35-40 gallons of fuel into the harbor.

A-1 Marine/Vessel Assist raised the boat, the Straits Explorer, using inflatable bags and pumps and towed it to North Harbor Marine in Anacortes for storage. No crane was used to raise the boat.

A resident of a neighboring vessel awoke March 30 to find the Straits Explorer hanging on to the dock by its starboard mooring lines. He called the boat's owner in Seattle, who called A-1 Marine. A-1 Marine got the call at 9 a.m. and responded from Roche Harbor, where it is helping to rebuild the dock next to the Lime Kiln Cafe. The boat was up by 2 p.m.

Les Soland of A-1 Marine/Vessel Assist said the boat may have become weighted down by rain, allowing sea water to enter scuppers located close to the water line; in addition, he said a starboard exhaust flange "was leaking a bit." The cause will be determined by a surveyor after the boat is hauled out.

The boat was described as a former Canadian Coast Guard rescue boat. Why Canadian? "It sank," one salvage worker quipped.

Volunteers from Islands Oil Spill Association placed absorbent pads in three boat slips to contain fuel that escaped from the boat. The smell of diesel was strong and two IOSA volunteers wore protective masks. Seven large plastic bags filled with fuel-soaked absorbent pads lined the dock; Jackie Wolf of IOSA said five pads will hold 1 gallon of fuel. She said volunteers were finished by 5:30 p.m.

Wolf said IOSA has responded to seven oil spill reports since Jan. 1. Soland of A-1 Marine/Vessel Assist said this was his company's third boat salvage since Jan. 1.

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