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Fishing vessel recovered at Garibaldi Marina

Photo by Cody Mann

The Amak was recovered at the Port of Garibaldi and moved for demolition this past week. The 65-foot commercial fishing vessel reportedly sank Oct. 14 and has been abandoned since around this past June.
Cody Mann
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The owner of the abandoned vessel passed away, according to Mike Saindon, general manager for the Port of Garibaldi. He said there is a responsible party, however, from who the Port is in an ongoing process of seeking restitution for the costs of cleaning up the sunken vessel, refloating it, and demolishing it.
Saindon said a catastrophic shaft-packing failure is the suspected cause of the vessel sinking. A seal around the propeller shaft is believed to have given out. Seam gaps in dried out planks let even more water in once they were submerged. Pumping was already taking place due to an ongoing leak. Video of the sinking showed the Amak going down in around four minutes.
When boats become derelict or bills go unpaid, larger ports are typically able to pull a boat out of the water and put it in dry storage. Garibaldi lacks that capacity for a boat of this size. Further complicating the matter is a lengthy and complex legal process for removing or destroying ships.
The Amak is currently out of the water, resting on a nearby shore and awaiting state-approved permits for demolition, which is expected to occur in the coming weeks. Rather than handle the entire event in-house, Port officials responded to the sinking by immediately requesting federal involvement through the Coast Guard, which allowed for superfund financial support.
“We were more worried about getting everything contained and taken care of and getting it out of here, so it did not affect our small businesses,” Saindon said. “The whole financial restitution – going after the documented owner, the responsible parties – we’re worrying about that later. Our immediate concern was to get the pollution addressed and get the boat out of the water.”
The Amak was capable of carrying 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel, but Saindon said it was holding much at the time it sank. He said an estimate “couple hundred” gallons were aboard. As soon as the Amak was discovered to have down, Port staff deployed absorbent booms and pads to contain the diesel. The federal superfund access allowed for cleanup contractors Global Diving and Salvage to be on-scene within 24 hours.
The remaining cleanup required for the boat to be out of the water. It was patched up and refloated on Oct. 29, moved a short distance with the help of an escort vessel. Estimated costs for the cleanup and demolition were not yet available, but Saindon said it would be costly and the pursuit of restitution would be complicated.
“The ultimate financial responsibility is going to go to the documented owner of the vessel,” Saindon said. “Part of the problem we have is the owner was in the process of selling it when he passed away.”
Saindon said the Port of Garibaldi wound up stuck with the Amak while it was in-between sale because the seller passed away and the person who was buying tried to back out of the purchase. The original owner’s estate had to file more paperwork with the Coast Guard to finalize the matter, Saindon said.
Abandoned boats fall into two categories: those that could be resold and those that cannot. Saindon said the Amak did not draw any other interested parties outside of one who could not afford the removal process.
The resulting burden on the Port is prompting more active enforcement as well as a hardening of policies regarding questionable boats in the marina.
“The state Oregon and the country as a whole is plagued with a problem of abandoned and derelict vessels,” Saindon said.

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