Shipping industry poised to operate tug at Neah Bay

A new tugboat, funded by the shipping industry, is about to go on station at Neah Bay, where it will protect the coast and Strait of Juan de Fuca from ships losing thrust or steering. The cost allocation between tank vessels and nontank vessels has been worked out, as I describe in a story in today’s Kitsap Sun.

The Jeffrey Foss, shown here in a tug race, will be stationed at Neah Bay.
Photo courtesy of Foss Maritime

As late as February, there was still a good deal of doubt about how the allocation would be made. But Frank Holmes of the Western States Petroleum Association and Mike Moore of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association both told me that they would somehow reach agreement — because the law required them to. See Kitsap Sun, Feb. 3.

There may still be a number of issues not yet resolved behind the scenes, as mentioned in a December letter (PDF 275 kb) to Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Bainbridge Island, and Rep. Dave Upthegrove, D-Des Moines. Issues listed at that time included getting vessels not covered by the oil-spill contingency plan to contribute to the cost of the tug and possibly working out a deal where ships bound for Canada would help pay as well.

For now, the tug will be in place with the costs covered. The shipping organizations put the tug contract out to bid. As a result, the Jeffrey Foss will be on station at Neah Bay as of July 1, at which time the Hunter from Crowley Maritime will be relieved of duty.

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