Gov. Inslee signs derelict vessel bill



Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday signed a bill that would provide more environmental protections against derelict vessels in Washington’s waterways.

The legislation allows public agencies to board abandoned or derelict vessels to assess whether they pose a threat to the environment. It would require owners of vessels longer than 65 feet and more than 40 years old to be inspected before they are sold to someone else.

The bill also makes a $1 surcharge on vessel registration permanent. That fee was set to expire at the end of 2013. Anyone who fails to register a vessel could face a civil infraction.

In 2011, a derelict barge on the Columbia River continuously spilled oil into the river. The incident prompted a 10-month, multiagency response that ultimately cost taxpayers more than $22 million.