San Juan County dispatch received a report of a vessel on fire in Judd Cove near Eastsound at approximately 7 a.m. on June 5. Personnel from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, San Juan Island Fire, Orcas Island Fire and Rescue and the United States Coast Guard responded.
On scene, the MV Sanctuary, a 38-foot wooden trawler was smoking heavily and clearly on fire. There were no people on board when the fire started. The fire was unable to be extinguished, and the vessel sank in the waters of Judd Cove where it still rests as of last reports. The cause of the fire is not known at this time.
Some leakage of fuels on board has occurred and an apparent sheen of fuel has been visible from air surveys throughout the day. Response personnel from the Islands’ Oil Spill Association (IOSA) deployed a boom in an effort to control the release. There are no observable impacts to wildlife to date.
Response staff from the Washington State Department of Ecology flew to the island to conduct an initial scene survey and coordinated with local first responders, land managers, and San Juan County Emergency Management staff.
As of 8 p.m. on June 5, Department of Ecology and Coast Guard staff were on scene along with contractors from Global Diving and Salvage, hired to remove all remaining fuel from the vessel and ensure no further pollution. Department of Ecology Staff will be conducting a full shoreline assessment after the overnight work is complete, looking for impacted areas and assessing any need for further cleanup.
Once the pollution source is controlled, work will begin to develop a plan for removing the burned hull of the vessel and returning the waters of Judd Cove to their natural state.