After more than 10 hours of work since first light – and that’s not counting the work done yesterday, after its early-morning sinking – the landing craft Justin has finally been brought up from about 25 feet of water off the 5400 block of Beach Drive. We first reported this about half an hour ago in our earlier updated-throughout-the-day coverage, but now that it’s up, we’re starting a new story. (Added – Colby Chester‘s overview of the scene as it came up:)
A U.S. Coast Guard chopper has been circling the area for the past 20 minutes or so, too. More to come – we’re watching to see what’ll be done with it, now that it’s out.
6:11 PM UPDATE: A Coast Guard news release supplies that answer:
It will remain suspended, allowing water to drain, and placed on a barge that will arrive at approximately 6 p.m.
A team of environmental specialists has completed a shoreline assessment and search for oil at Lowman Beach and Lincoln parks. There is no evidence of oil on the shore, on driftwood or on the absorbent boom near the shore. The team will continue their search for any sign of oil on the shoreline and overflights to monitor the evaporation and breakup of light weathered diesel ribbons that remain.
Wildlife has been reported in the impact area, however no impact to wildlife has been reported. Please call 1-800-22-BIRDS to report impacted wildlife.
We caught up with the aforementioned environmental-specialists team at midday, as they finished checking Lincoln and Lowman Beach parks – that’s part of our earlier coverage. Meantime, the “6 pm barge” isn’t here yet – we’re waiting and watching.
8:01 PM: The barge came into view at dusk. Beach Drive Blog has night photos of the ongoing operation. (Added – a Department of Ecology photo:)
Spending the day on an open sliver of land to watch the progress, we met many interesting people. But one in particular framed the situation in a unique perspective – a woman who identified herself as the girlfriend of the Justin’s namesake owner. She said she hadn’t had much time to talk to him since it happened; she sat on the rocks on the same bit of shore where we were all day, waiting, wondering, worrying. As for why the converted landing craft sank – the official investigation will take time.
10:25 PM: Another update from the Coast Guard, which says, now that the Justin is out of the water: “Prior to repairs being done, Coast Guard and Wash. Dept. of Ecology investigators will examine the vessel in an attempt to determine what caused it to sink. Shoreline assessments of the beaches near Lowman Beach and Lincoln parks will resume at sunrise. A helicopter will also be used at sunrise to assess the evaporation and breakup of the light weathered diesel ribbons that remain.”
11:19 PM: Excellent night shots in the latest Beach Drive Blog update. They report the salvage barge is taking the Justin to Tacoma for repairs work (its owners, Waterfront Construction, however, are based in Seattle).