Pollution warning issued for sinking shrimp boat

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OCEAN SHORES, Wash  -- State crews tried to tow a sinking shrimp boat back to shore Saturday, or at least offload some of the 3,000 gallons of fuel on board, but even during low tide, they say it was just too dangerous in the rough surf.

Now the Coast Guard has issued a pollution warning as beachcombers and others report a strong smell of diesel up and down the beach.

“It’s too bad for the fishermen, but of course the environment comes into play now,” said Lana Hilts, who found what appeared to be a communication log from the 74-foot boat that washed up on the beach near Ocean Shores.

On Friday, the Coast Guard rescued three crew members as the boat began sinking. The crew called for help saying they were taking on water through a 12 inch hole.

After getting on shore, the captain of the vessel was taken to the hospital for a heart condition.

Now the fire department and Department of Ecology are monitoring the scene for fuel leaks. They say it doesn’t appear to be leaking, but that diesel smell still hangs in the air, something that Hilts could smell from her condo.

“I’m asthmatic so any smells throw me off,” said Hilts. “It smelled like somebody was burning something.”

Scientists with the Department of Ecology will be checking the boat again on Sunday, but now say  they may have to wait another five days for the tide to get low enough to drag it to shore.