Derelict Vessel Owner Ordered to Pay More
by Bonnie Stewart
A Washington man and his company have been hit with a $405,000 fine for the 2011 oil spill in the Columbia River from the derelict vessel Davy Crockett.
The Washington Ecology Department announced on Monday its fine against Bret A. Simpson and his company, Principle Metals LCC, for the 2011 oil spill from the derelict vessel Davy Crockett. The state also is billing Simpson for $680,000 to cover its cleanup costs.
Oil began leaking in 2010 from the 431-foot barge, which was illegally moored near Camas, Wash. The spill began after Simpson started dismantling it in the Columbia River in late 2010.
The U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies spent almost a year and close to $23 million cleaning up the broken Davy Crockett. They removed more than 38,000 gallons of heavy bunker oil from the derelict vessel.
"We're trying to send a strong message that for anybody that has a large vessel that they are contemplating cutting up and maybe even thinking it is a good thing to do to recover the value of the scrap metal, this is really not a responsible or legal thing to do," said Jim Sachet with Washington Ecology Department.
Sachet said the state has not been able to determine the extent of the environmental damage from the oil spill but that it created a "significant threat to endangered fish and marine mammals."
The $405,000 fine includes violations for:
The state will take every reasonable and legal means to collect the money, Sachet said. That could include sending the case to a collection agency.
Last summer, Simpson pleaded guilty to two criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. His sentencing has been set for March 18, 2013, in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
Simpson could not be reached for comment.
Before Simpson bought the Davy Crockett, the U.S. Coast Guard had ordered a previous owner, retired Navy rear admiral G. Dennis Vaughan, to remove all the oil on the vessel.
Washington officials had also ordered a previous owner to remove the vessel from its mooring near Camas because it was illegally situated on state aquatic land.
Neither of the previous owners complied with those orders.
Cleanup of Derelict Barge Davy Crockett on Columbia River Nearly Complete by Scott Learn, The Oregonian, 8/23/11
Davy Crockett One of Many Dilapidated Vessels on the Columbia by Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, 2/3/11
Cleanup of Derelict Barge Davy Crockett on Columbia River Nearly Complete by Scott Learn, Department of Ecology News Release, 11/23/11
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