Inslee signs bill protecting against derelict vessels

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill that would provide more environmental protections against derelict vessels in Washington's waterways.

The legislation signed Monday allows public agencies to board abandoned or derelict vessels to assess whether they pose a threat to the environment. It would require owners of vessels longer than 65 feet and more than 40 years old to be inspected before they are sold to someone else.

The bill also makes permanent a $1 surcharge on vessel registration. That fee was set to expire at the end of 2013.

Anyone who fails to register a vessel could face a civil infraction. That provision is intended to make enforcement and collection of fines more realistic and efficient.

Oil that spilled into the Columbia River near Camas, Wash., from the derelict barge Davy Crockett led to a multiagency cleanup response that ultimately cost more than $22 million.