Crews rush to raise boat threatening Wash. mussels

Published:

 

COUPEVILLE, Washington (AP) -- Crews are rushing to figure out how to raise a sunken a fishing vessel that's threatening Whidbey Island's famous Penn Cove mussel beds.

The Seattle Times reports (http://is.gd/SWY63w ) that responders have already recovered 1,400 gallons of oil that leaked from the derelict boat after it caught fire and sank two weeks ago. The mussels' peak spawning season is now, and their harvest has been closed until they are cleared by toxicity tests.

The 140-foot vessel weighs maybe 750,000 pounds. State officials and contractors don't know whether they'll be able to weld a patch in the hull and tow it to a shipyard, or whether they'll have to haul it onto a barge. There's some danger the boat could break in two when they try to raise it.

Crews are expected to attempt to raise the vessel early this week.