Thursday, March 21, 2013

House derelict vessel solution before Senate committee today

The Deep Sea. The New Star. The Davy Crockett. The Helena Star.

That’s a list of ship and barge names - one with ominous overtones because those are aging or rusting hulks that leaked pollutants or sank into state waters over the last two years, costing the state millions in cleanup costs.

There are lots more abandoned and derelict vessels in Washington waterways, and they pose a threat to navigation, seafood harvests, recreation and the environment - and to the state budget, which is often the last resort for money to remove the ships, boats and barges.

Rep. Drew Hansen wants to head off these disasters before they occur, and his House Bill 1245 is designed to do just that. It passed the House 96-1 earlier this month and goes before the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee  for a hearing today.

The bill would require an inspection before the sale of older, larger vessels, which would alert buyers to potential problems. It also acts to secure financing from ship and boat owners for the state’s derelict-vessel removal program, and sets up a voluntary turn-in program to get troubled vessels out of the water before they create hazards.

Read this story in Spanish.