The 2008 supplemental operating budget was adopted this week before the session's adjournment and funds a rescue tug through June 2009. "This is great news," said Kathy Fletcher, executive director of People For Puget Sound. "The rescue tug has repeatedly saved our marine environment from oil spills. We have a few nervous months head, but starting in July, we'll be good for a whole year."
The rescue tug's current part-time contract ended March 7, after which time it went off duty.
A standby rescue tug has been in part-time service during the winter months since 1999 and has made 40 assists of vessels in distress. This past winter season alone, the rescue tug was called out to assist six vessels. Federal legislation requiring the shipping industry to pay for year-round, standby rescue tug service at Neah Bay has been introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell.
The issue of permanent, year-round funding for rescue tugs and oil spill prevention measures is to be considered by he Puget Sound Partnership in developing its Action Agenda by September 2008.
Washington State DOE Rescue Tug page is here.
Rescue Tug Gladiator