Sunken Barges to be Monitored

Friday, January 14, 2005
The Department of Ecology (Ecology) and U.S. Coast Guard agreed on a plan to continue monitoring two sunken barges in Elliott Bay, after divers found no leaking oil yesterday.

A diving team hired by Ecology made three dives to inspect the unidentified barges, located a half-mile off Seattle's Magnolia Bluff on a slope under 80 to 105 feet of water.

Ecology received a report about the wrecks late last month from the People for Puget Sound environmental organization, which has been working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to remove abandoned fishing gear from the depths of Puget Sound. Divers from that project reported seeing "burps" of oil rising from a barge off Magnolia Bluff.

In case oil may be leaking intermittently, the Coast Guard will monitor the surface over the site for signs of oil through March. The Coast Guard will make extended visits to the site in boats in the coming weeks to monitor for any signs of oil. Regular Coast Guard helicopter and boat patrols will check the site when passing the area.

Auxiliary volunteers will comb libraries and archives for additional information about wrecks in the area.

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