U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici visited the Port of Astoria on Monday to tour boats designated to respond to shipboard fires and oil spills.
The boats are operated by both private companies like Clean Rivers Cooperative and public agencies like the Port. They are part of a network called Maritime Fire & Safety Association, which receives 10 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The boats are only deployed a handful of times each year. Most recently, Clean Rivers Cooperative’s boat responded to an oil tanker that ran aground Thursday morning near Skamokawa, Washington. The tanker did not leak any oil, but the boat was sent to the site just in case.
“It’s like insurance. You don’t use it all the time. But when you do, you really need it,” said Bonamici, D-Oregon, who has worked with the association to help secure funding. “It’s a great collaboration.”