TACOMA— Operations are in full swing to raise and remove the Helena Star, the 167-foot vessel that sank at the old Mason Marine location in Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma on Jan. 25, 2013.
The operation is being coordinated by a joint team involving: Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the US Coast Guard (Coast Guard), Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology), Tacoma Fire Department, and Global Diving and Salvage, Inc.
The operations are complicated so the schedule remains fluid. No safety zone will be established, though the Coast Guard will issue notification to nearby mariners.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife restricted work in Commencement Bay waterways until July 15 to protect aquatic habitat for salmon, other fish and wildlife. Work to remove the Helena Star will continue during the work window that began July 16.
The Hylebos Waterway was listed as a Superfund site in 1983 following the discovery of widespread contamination from more than a century of heavy industrial activity. A massive cleanup and restoration effort has been underway since 2002. Keeping derelict vessels from adding to the contamination is critical to making progress on cleanup.
A special, one-time legislative appropriation to the DNR Derelict Vessel Removal Program is funding the raising, patching, towing, dismantling, recycling, and disposal of the vessel. The Coast Guard will provide funding to respond to oil pollution in the event that it occurs during the vessel removal.
For a timeline and background of the sinking of the Helena Star, visit Ecology’s incident web page.
Properties adjacent to the worksite in the Hylebos are privately owned. People are asked to put safety first and to respect property owners in the area by not trespassing on sites near the operation.