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Sector Columbia River
2185 SE 12th Place Warrenton, OR 97146


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Sector Columbia River

Protecting the Pacific Northwest

Response Department - Incident Management Division

The Incident Management Division protects the sea by responding to pollution and all hazard incidents and threats, holding responsible parties accountable for environmental damage and cleanup, and protecting living marine and natural resources. 

The main objectives for the Incident Management Division are:

Area of Operations (AOR):  The Incident Management Division has responsibility for pollution and hazardous material response within the Sector Columbia River Captain of the Port Zone which runs from the Queets River on the Washington Coast south down the Oregon Coast to the California border and out to the extent of the Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles seaward from the U.S. shoreline).  It also includes the Columbia River entrance east to the Idaho and Wyoming state boundary.  The U. S. Coast Guard acts as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator with responsibility for the coastal zone which includes all U.S. waters subject to the tide, specified ports and harbors on the inland rivers, waters of the contiguous zone, other waters of the high seas subject to the National Contingency Plan, and the land surface or land substrata, ground waters, and ambient air proximal to those waters.  This includes any river or undesignated waters discharging into a salt-water body (the boundary for undesignated waters shall be the nearer to the coastal area of responsibility of 100 yards from the junction with, or the first bridge crossing).  For spills originating on land, but either impacting or threatening to impact navigable waters, determination of the appropriate federal agency (EPA or the USCG) for response is made by considering the area of responsibility to which the largest impact may occur


o   275 Notifications

o   56 Unknown Sheen Cases

o   20 Mystery Drum removals

o   7 Sunken vessels

o   10 Vessel discharges

o   05 Facility discharges or releases

JAPANESE TSUNAMI DEBRIS:  NOAA is the lead agency directed to conduct research, monitoring, prevention, and reduction activities in regards to marine debris.  The Coast Guard's focus is centered on notification and reporting of navigational and maritime transportation disruptions. 
Coast Guard assets will report any hazardous marine debris they witness.
Coast Guard maintains a voluntary reporting program for commercial vessels to report damage to vessels and disruption to navigation caused by marine debris.
The Coast Guard also notifies mariners of potential hazardous situations, as well as, navigational disruptions via broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNMs). 
If there are pollution threats, Coast Guard takes action under the role of Federal On-Scene Coordinator, in cooperation with EPA.

Reports of Marine Debris items of significant accumulations potentially related to the tsunami should be made to
More information on marine debris can be found at:

ABANDONED AND DERELICT VESSELS Abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) have the potential to become significant threats to the environment, navigation, and human health and safety.  These vessels typically include harbor and coastal working vessels, such as tugs, fishing vessels and pleasure craft that have been abandoned due to repair cost, economic conditions, or the decline of fishing industries and scrap metal values.  While there is currently no national database tracking these vessels, they remain a problem in virtually every commercial and recreational harbor throughout the U.S.  In addition to the potential for oil pollution, these vessels may present significant environmental concerns and public health hazards due to their location, condition, and the potential presence of other hazardous substances and wastes.

Columbia River Derelict Vessel Task Force In May of 2011, the Columbia River Derelict Vessel Task Force was formed following a $23 million response to the ex-Liberty Ship turned derelict barge Davy Crockett and a perceived growing threat of derelict and abandoned vessels.  The task force mission is to recommend policy, share information, and foster collaborative and shared efforts of task force members to identify and mitigate the harmful effects of derelict vessels, barges, and houseboats along the middle and lower Columbia and Willamette Rivers.  The Task Force also collaborates with coastal ports as well as Puget Sound on derelict vessel issues.  Regular contributors to the task force include representatives from the USCG, EPA, USACE, NOAA, DEQ, OSMB, Oregon Department of State Lands, Oregon Department of Justice, DOE, Washington DNR, and Columbia County and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Offices.  Task force objectives include:

(1)   Inventory derelict vessels, barges, and houseboats along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

(2)   Determine derelict vessels, barges, and houseboats that pose actual or potential pollution threats and hazard to navigation.

(3)   Prioritize and remove all pollution, hazardous materials and navigational threats from identified derelict vessels, barges, and houseboats.

(4)   Conduct regular, intense, coordinated surveillance for prevention of pollution, hazardous materials, or navigational threats stemming from derelict vessels, barges, and houseboats.

(5)   Develop a list of law and policy areas for investigation where existing rules and policies could be changed to facilitate the reduction of current and future derelict and abandoned vessels.

(6)   Identify opportunities to align Washington and Oregon laws addressing derelict vessels with the goal of moving toward a consistent regulatory regime on the Columbia River.

(7)   Maintain effective communications with state and local agencies, Coast Guard Auxiliary, and federal partners.

The Derelict Vessel Task Force meets regularly and, in keeping with its objectives, maintains a Vessels of Concern Database which can be accessed at the following link:
Additional Information for Derelict and Abandoned Vessels can be found on the RRT/NWAC website at:

National Response Center: 
Environment Protection Agency:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
Regional Response Team/Northwest Area Committee:
OR Department of Environmental Quality:
WA Department of Ecology:
Maritime Fire and Safety Association:

Environmental Response/Environmental Protection
Reporting Spills
Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) - Clean Water Act
Other Useful Links



Last Modified 1/12/2016