Puget Sound’s Strait of Juan de Fuca will for the first time be protected year-round by a standby rescue tug stationed at Neah Bay,
thanks to action by the legislature which budgeted $3.65 million for
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 ahead, 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
The issue of permanent, year-round funding for rescue tugs and oil spill
prevention measures is to be considered by the Puget Sound Partnership in
developing its Action Agenda by September 2008.