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Columbia River tug sinks after breaking from mooring

Feb 25, 2020 09:28 AM

The 38-foot Nova reportedly was blown three-quarters of a mile upriver by strong winds

The following is text of a news release from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality:

(UMATILLA, Ore.) — State and federal agencies responded Monday to a sunken 38-foot tugboat on the Oregon side of the Columbia River about 10 miles upriver of McNary Dam near Umatilla.

Divers plugged fuel vents on the tugboat Nova during the afternoon and the vessel is not actively leaking. The tugboat reportedly has about 750 gallons of diesel on board and is completely submerged.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Washington Department of Ecology and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are overseeing operations and investigating to determine if any fuel has been released. Responders deployed containment boom Monday afternoon and evening around the tugboat.

A crane is scheduled to arrive on site Wednesday to lift the vessel out of the water.

Responders suspect the tugboat broke loose from its mooring Sunday night due to strong winds, which pushed it about three-quarters of a mile upriver. There was no one on board when the vessel began drifting. It is owned by HME Construction.

Oregon DEQ, Washington Ecology and EPA are coordinating with fish and wildlife agencies and tribal governments on the response.

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