In mid-May, the F/V DEEP SEA caught fire and sank in Washington’s Penn Cove. According to local media reports, the vessel had been illegally anchored there for months. Penn Cove is known worldwide for its quality mussels and shellfish. After the 128-foot vessel sank, it began leaking an estimated two gallons of diesel fuel per minute, endangering the cove’s delicate marine life. The potential environmental impact alarmed local business owners like Ian Jefferds, who runs the multimillion-dollar shellfish farm Penn Cove Shellfish.
Fortunately, the F/V DEEP SEA has now been raised from the bottom of the cove, and officials believe the oil spill has been contained. According to King 5 News, 3,100 gallons were removed during underwater operations and 1,400 gallons were recovered from the surface. Most commercial and recreational shellfish areas have been reopened.
Prior to the sinking of the F/V DEEP SEA, the Department of Natural Resources had instructed owner Rory Westmoreland to move the vessel out of Penn Cove. According to KOMO News, the state is considering misdemeanor charges against him for trespassing and leaving a derelict boat, and he could face federal pollution charges as well. The total cost of the spill response is estimated at nearly $2 million.
Luckily, this unfortunate incident didn’t involve any injuries. Not all fishing accidents are injury-free, however. When commercial fishermen get hurt on the job, they should contact an experienced maritime attorney to ensure their legal rights are protected.
Are you recuperating from injuries sustained during a commercial fishing accident? Contact a Boston maritime attorney today to learn about your rights under the Jones Act and other maritime laws.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers