On Monday morning, September 30th, a 72-foot tugboat sank near the Ballard Bridge near Seattle, spilling oil into the Seattle Waterfront.
The vessel, a 1925-vintage tugboat, was in the process of being transformed into a floating residence, and was moored at a dock on Salmon Bay, just west of the Ballard Bridge and east of the Ballard Locks when it went down in 16 feet of water around 7:30am.
The Coast Guard and State Department of Ecology crews were on the scene shortly after they were notified by the caretaker, and they placed booms and absorbent pads around the boat to reduce the spread of the fuel that was released.
There was a sheen on the water; however, it was not immediately clear just how many gallons had been spilled. The tugboat’s tanks reportedly held 1,700 gallons of fuel.
It has since been discovered that 200 gallons of diesel fuel were spilled, which have at this point been recovered and cleaned up by the Coast Guard and the tugboat’s owner.
The owner of the tug, Bill Soderberg, was keeping a blog on his project to transform the vessel, giving information about the boat’s history and his plans to turn it into a floating residence. According to Mr. Soderberg, “[I]t’s most famous tow had to have been as part of the Namu Navy in 1965, towing the enclosure containing Namu the Killer Whale from British Columbia to Seattle. Namu was the one of the first Killer Whales in captivity and was on display on the Seattle waterfront.”
The tug was used for various jobs until it was found by Jason Belshe in the late 1990s. Jason spent ten years living on the vessel and restoring it, only recently selling it to Bill Soderberg.