first_imgThe U.S. Coast Guard will step in to dismantle and remove the beached and broken barge Davy Crockett, now languishing on the north bank of the Columbia River between Vancouver and Camas.Gov. Chris Gregoire said she was pleased by the Coast Guard’s announcement on Thursday.“The issue remains of how we improve the monitoring and management of large derelict vessels so that we avoid these types of costly and intensive response efforts in the future,” Gregoire said in a prepared statement.State authorities have attributed the sad state of the 431-foot converted barge — beached, broken and leaching PCB-tainted oil into the river — to owner Brett Simpson of Ellensburg. They said an apparent effort to scrap the vessel while it was afloat weakened the Crockett to the point that its midsection buckled and sank.The Coast Guard reported it had already removed 200,595 pounds of debris — mainly metal scrap — since the response was federalized on Jan. 27.The agency has already rung up a sizable bill.The agency has so far obligated $3.4 million in funding from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, and now plans to tap even more money from the fund to implement a removal and destruction plan. The ceiling has been raised to $4.5 million as of Thursday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Eric Chandler said.“The ceiling is raised as needed,” Chandler said.The operation may need quite a bit, although Coast Guard officials said the agency is still developing a removal plan with an estimated cost and time frame.last_img read more