More derelict vessels expected in Northwest

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LYLE, Wash. (AP) -- In January, the rusty, oil-filled barge Davy Crockett cracked in half near Washougal along the Columbia River, eventually costing $20 million to clean up.

The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/prPzqP) reported Wednesday that the number of such large craft known as "derelict vessels" is likely to grow in the Northwest, in part because owners aren't allowed to export them for scrap.

Agencies are monitoring about 30 large derelict vessels. The paper says owners are often out of business or absentee or can't be tracked down. Under maritime law, a vessel without cargo and no means of propulsion doesn't have to be registered.

And unless the vessels are hazards to navigation or present an imminent threat of pollution, government agencies have limited ability, resources and responsibility for getting the vessels off the river.