Anacortes Port Commissioners have okayed a contract to remove the derelict tug Enchantress. Work will start next week to prepare the boat for removal from Fidalgo Bay.
The Commissioners Thursday night approved a $355,415 contract with Global Diving & Salvage to remove the tug with asbestos removal work to start next week.
Tim Nord, who manages land and aquatic lands cleanup for Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program, told the Port Commissioners that removing Enchantress is part of a broad and expensive effort by the state to clean up the waters around Anacortes.
He pointed out that he gave local supporters of the tug six months to create a plan to save the boat and that no one has come up with a plan. “I’m asking you to proceed to remove that vessel,” he said.
But, local artist Bill Mitchell, who has argued and fought to save Enchantress, asked for more time to come up with a plan. He said “That boat has value; all we’re asking for is a little more time.” He urged the Port to put off removal until the rest of the Fidalgo Bay cleanup is finished.
In taking the action, four of the five commissioners made it clear that the state Department of Ecology made the decision to remove the tug and that the Port is cooperating.
Commissioner Pat Mooney said “This isn’t a Port decision.” He added “I don’t believe it’s an environmental hazard where it is. Commissioner Ray Niver said “This determination is solely up to the Department of Ecology.”
Commissioner Keith Rubin said “I like the tug, too. I think it’s a landmark.” “But,” he added, “it looks like no effort has been made to remove the tug.” Commissioner Steve Hopley added “This is not the way I’d like to see this happen.”