Oil-spill response vessel now stationed at Neah Bay

NEAH BAY — The oil skimmer Arctic Tern heas begun calling Neah Bay its homeport as the Makah reservation becomes a staging area for spill response on Washington’s outer coast.

Previously moored at the Port Angeles Boat Haven, the 73-foot diesel-driven craft will be captained by an officer of the Marine Spill Response Corp. and crewed by two Makah tribal members.

Chad Bowechop, ocean policy manager for the tribe’s new Office of Ocean Affairs, announced the move Wednesday as a milestone for the tribe.

The vessel began its station Thursday.

“It’s a pretty red-letter day for us,” Bowechop said.

The Makah, he said, long have worked with the Coast Guard and the nonprofit spill response corporation to build credibility.

“This is a real good example of tribal government working with industry to improve oil spill protection standards,” Bowechop said.

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