Washington Department of Ecology Concerned That Wrecked Ship May Be Releasing Asbestos

State of Washington officials have ordered the removal of a wrecked ship that is leaking contaminants -- possibly including asbestos -- into Commencement Bay in Tacoma.

The 167-foot Helena Star sank on January 25, 2013, and dragged down a 130-foot fishing vessel with it. The derelict vessels remain in Commencement Bay. The Washington Department of Ecology is concerned that toxic contaminants including asbestos may be released from paint and other materials on the ships. It has ordered those responsible for the vessel to remove it.

The ships were moored and waiting to be dismantled when they sank, the Associated Press reported the day after the sinking. State officials indicated they have had difficulty obtaining the funding necessary to dismantle a number of derelict vessels in Washington's Puget Sound area.