Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials report workers have made significant progress in removing about 30 crushed vehicles that spilled from a barge into Tacoma’s Commencement Bay earlier this year.
According to DNR officials, Global Diving & Salvage began removing the vehicles June 5, retrieving 17 of the vehicles that had fallen into the bay during the first day of recovery. Work continued last week, and crews expected to finish recovering all vehicles and associated debris by the end of the day.
On Feb. 24, a 250-foot Amix Marine Services barge anchored in Commencement Bay began listing and taking on water. The barge had stacks of crushed cars on it and many of them fell into bay, which measures 242 feet deep. The area where the cars sank is on state-owned aquatic lands, which DNR manages, and is leased by Foss Maritime.
“We are very concerned about any potential harmful effects the scrap cars and other debris may have to the marine environment,” said DNR aquatic lands manager Stephanie Lorenz. “As steward and manager of more than 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, we are committed to preserving the state’s resources and protecting habitat. Leaving the toxic-laden cars in the bay was not an option.”
DNR officials noted observant staff at Foss Maritime quickly notified the owner that the barge was taking on water, which kept the situation from getting worse. The Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington State Department of Ecology, DNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, and the City of Tacoma worked together to expedite the removal of the cars and debris.