It didn't take long for the state to make use of a new rescue
tug stationed at the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula.
Just before midnight on New Year's Eve, a wooden fishing vessel with two men and hundreds of gallons of fuel on board was reported drifting near Cape Alava, the scenic beach in Olympic National Park about 10 miles south of Cape Flattery.
The new tug, owned by Crowley Marine Services
and named Gladiator, was not scheduled to take over from a Foss Maritime tug until midnight. But it had arrived at its new station by 11 p.m. and responded when the call came in.
The Gladiator towed the disabled vessel into Neah Bay and turned it over to the Coast Guard, the state Ecology Department said Monday in a statement.
The state had expected Foss Maritime to keep a tug stationed at Neah Bay through
the winter, but Foss said it could not because of a shortage of tugs in the region. Crowley Maritime Corp. of Jacksonville, Fla., responded by agreeing to provide a tug for $8,500 a day, plus fuel, effective Monday.
A rescue tug has been stationed at Neah Bay for the past eight winters The vessel assists disabled ships to prevent them from drifting onto rocks and possibly spilling oil.
It's the first line of defense for the state's inland waters, with the next available resources 60 miles into the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Port Angeles.
Since 1999, the rescue tug service has assisted 30 disabled ships.
State lawmakers provided Ecology $1.4 million with the goal of providing about 200 days of rescue tug service this winter.
Source: Seattle PI