Removal and Prevention of Abandoned and Derelict Vessels along the Oregon Coast
A derelict vessel in the water.
The F/V Western was removed from Coos Bay, Oregon. (Photo Credit: Billeter Marine)
A boat floating in the water.
An older image of the F/V Western shows the vessel before it sank. (Photo Credit: Oregon State Marine Board)

The Oregon State Marine Board is teaming up with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to remove the F/V Western, a sunken vessel in Coos Bay, Oregon. They are also performing underwater monitoring at the removal area, creating an inventory of commercial abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) in Oregon, and initiating an ADV Task Force to help prevent future ADVs in Oregon.

Type of Project: Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant

Region: Pacific Northwest

Project Dates: June 2016 - November 2017

Who is involved?
The Oregon State Marine Board, in collaboration with the Oregon Department of State Lands and with the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant, is removing a sunken vessel near Coos Bay, Oregon. Billeter Marine, a marine salvage contractor, was hired to conduct the removal. In addition, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is conducting a year-long underwater monitoring effort to assess environmental recovery of the removal site. An ADV Task Force is also being developed, with Oregon Sea Grant assisting with the coordination and facilitation of the Task Force public meetings.

What is the project and why is it important?
The Oregon State Marine Board is removing the F/V Western, an 80-ton, wood-hulled fishing vessel that was built in 1934 and sank in January 2015 near the Empire Dock in Coos Bay, Oregon. Removing the sunken vessel, which is near a busy shipping channel and in an environmentally-sensitive location, will prevent further harm to the environment and allow it to recover. To monitor the environmental recovery of the wreck area after the vessel has been removed, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are using an underwater camera suspended from a boat to conduct bi-monthly surveys over the course of one year. The underwater images will provide important information on how the channel floor, damaged by the sunken vessel, recovers over time.

Abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs), such as the F/V Western, are a problem along the entire Oregon coast. To facilitate the prevention of ADVs in Oregon, this project is initiating an ADV Task Force. The Task Force brings together partners, such as port and marina managers, vessel owners, and fishermen, to identify strategies for preventing commercial fishing vessels from becoming marine debris. The ADV Task Force is drafting a report that includes the group’s process, challenges, options for prevention, and recommendations. In addition, this project is also developing an inventory of commercial fishing vessels along the Oregon coast that need to be removed. Using a matrix developed by the Columbia River Derelict Vessel Task Force, the inventory will include vessel location, ownership information, history, and condition to facilitate ADV removal in Oregon.

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A boat floating in the water.
An older image of the F/V Western shows the vessel before it sank. (Photo Credit: Oregon State Marine Board)