Coast Guard drains fuel from damaged historic yacht

The Coast Guard on Wednesday removed 2,000 gallons of fuel from a historic yacht.
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The Coast Guard on Wednesday removed 2,000 gallons of fuel from a historic yacht that was taking on water at Bremerton Marina in Port Orchard, Wash.

The Northwind, a 130-foot yacht built in the 1930s and thought to have hosted Winston Churchill, Jackie Kennedy and Princess Elizabeth, was found to be listing and taking on water April 14.

Marina staff alerted the Coast Guard that the yacht might sink and release its fuel into Sinclair Inlet, according to a report by the Kitsap Sun.

The Massachusetts resident who owns the yacht was notified, but said he could not take immediate repair actions because of its location, so the Coast Guard opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and federalized the incident.

Global Diving and Salvage was contracted to assist, inspect and stabilize the yacht. Divers and salvage workers patched all noticeable damaged areas, but have been unable to prevent the yacht from taking on water. Responders completed the removal of about 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel just before midnight on Wednesday.

“Our main objective in this incident and every incident is to mitigate any possible environmental impact,” said Chief Petty Officer Donald Warden, Incident Management Division, Sector Puget Sound. “We worked in tandem with our state partners at the Washington Department of Ecology and the harbormaster at the marina to remove fuel from a noticeably endangered vessel before it became a more serious problem.”

The owner of Northwind is developing a salvage plan and must notify the Coast Guard before moving the yacht.

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