Divers and salvage crews yesterday raised the last boat that sank in a fire that destroyed 50 boats at the Harborview Marina in Gig Harbor on Aug. 31.
“We’re actually ahead of where we expected to be at this time,” said Petty Officer First Class Matt Valenti of the U.S. Coast Guard. “Once we got the debris from the marina out of the way, crews were able to bring the last boats up pretty quickly.”
Divers will continue to survey the harbor floor for remaining fuel tanks or other possible sources of pollution as crews wind up their work, Valenti said. With the last of the boats gone, crews were able to remove three booms that had been deployed to protect nearby creeks from possible pollution. Approximately 4,500 feet of boom remain around the burned marina.
“All that’s left is a small amount of debris and unrecoverable oil sheen,” said Ron Holcomb, on-scene coordinator for the state Department of Ecology. “The on-water clean-up should be finished by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.”
Ecology and U.S. Coast Guard officials have overseen a clean-up that raised 46 boats from the harbor floor. Four other boats were damaged but managed to stay afloat. Authorities have been able to identify all of the boats.
Authorities continue to investigate the cause of the fire. Investigators took an initial look at the boat suspected as the origin of the fire on Friday and will examine the boat in more detail in Tacoma.
“We hope to learn more once we can really go over the boat closely,” said Gig Harbor Fire Marshal Dick Bower. “It’s pretty much destroyed, but we’re hopeful we can find some clues.”
In the meantime, Bower said, things were returning to normal in the harbor. “Within a day or two, boat traffic should be able to move freely,” Bower said.
As of yesterday morning, clean-up crews had recovered 4,500 gallons of water contaminated with gasoline, diesel fuel and other oils discharged as a result of the marina fire. In addition, crews removed 184 cubic yards of oily debris and filled five barges with more than 100 tons of debris from the collapsed marina structure.
Clean-up and removal of boats and debris was conducted by three contractors under the direction of the Coast Guard and Ecology. Global Diving and Salvage, and Hurlen Construction, raised the boats and removed large debris.