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Wayward tug pulled off the beach

"Useless Bay residents were relieved early Friday morning when the Coast Guard came to take the tugboat away.Margie and Jake Jacobson live on the beach off Shore Avenue, and last Sunday the Seaway 10 landed in what could be considered their front yard. Since then, they've worried that a high tide combined with strong winds might lift the vessel and send it crashing into their home.But the Coast Guard ended those worries when workers showed up at 5 a.m. Friday to begin preparations for towing the vessel back from whence it came -- a moorage buoy at Shilshole Bay in Seattle. The derelict tug broke loose from the buoy and strong winds pushed it all the way across Puget Sound to Useless Bay, where it grounded itself on the sandy beach.It's the most exciting thing that's happened around here in a long time, said Margie Jacobson. She and Jake have lived in their beachfront home for 32 years. They were surprised when the tug appeared Sunday and kept coming closer and closer to their house. There's nobody on that thing, Marge finally decided, and she called the Coast Guard.The 80-foot tug drew immediate attention from authorities, who arrived Monday and declared it non-hazardous from an environmental viewpoint. There was no fuel, oil or other toxins on board.There was some doubt whose responsibility it was to take the tug away, since the owner could not be traced. But that issue was settled later in the week. It was inspected by the Coast Guard and Corps and it's a hazard to navigation, said Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Officer Dave Harris on Thursday. The fear was that a strong north wind combined with upcoming high tides could set the tug free and draw it into the shipping lanes.That determination allowed the rescue operation to proceed.The Corps of Engineers contracted with Global Salvage to tow the tug away. The operation included Coast Guard vessels. Jake Jacobson said a steel cleat was welded to the Seaway and a cable attached. Pulling didn't seem to be working, so what he described as a pilot boat came in and seemed to push the tug out of the sand.By 7:30 a.m. the Seaway, whose name was originally reported as the Seaview, was well out to sea, being towed by a large boat and watched closely by several other vessels. They were heading back to Shilshole and the same buoy the tug was illegally tied to sometime last summer.The Corps' Harris said efforts are still being made to find the owner. The last known owner was an charitable outfit called American Missions. Somebody donated it to them, but they no longer exist, Harris said. If we find the owner we'll invite them to help pay the bill. "

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