Melissa Ferris, manager of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Derelict Vessel Removal Program, was honored in October for her leadership of the department’s response to the sinking and retrieval of the Deep Sea vessel earlier this year in Penn Cove.
In announcing the Supernova Award, which honors outstanding performance, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark praised the leadership and expertise Ferris displayed.
“Melissa’s leadership, technical expertise and problem-solving approaches exemplify what DNR employees have to offer,” said Goldmark, who also leads the DNR.
In mid-May, the fishing vessel Deep Sea, which had been anchored in Penn Cove on Whidbey Island, caught fire and sank in 60 feet of water. Officials from the Department of Natural Resources worked with local, state and federal agencies to quickly remove the vessel to prevent serious damage to the local environment, including nearby shellfish beds.
The Department of Natural Resource’s Derelict Vessel Removal Program provides funding and expertise to public agencies to assist the removal of abandoned and derelict vessels from state-owned aquatic land, which DNR manages. At any given time, there are about 200 derelict vessels on the rivers, lakes and estuaries of Washington.