NPR

A Forgotten Shipwreck Imperils Washington's Oysters

The sunken Hero, an Antarctic research vessel from the 1960s, is leaking oil into Willapa Bay, where more than half of the state's oysters are grown. And no one knows how to remove it.
In its prime, the Hero sailed through frigid temperatures and ice-strewn waters in the South Pole. But now it's sinking, leaking oil and threatening Washington's oysters. Source: Molly Solomon

Driving up the coast toward Bay Center, Wash., it's obvious when you start to approach Willapa Bay. Fifteen-foot high piles of empty shells begin to appear on the side of the road. This is an oyster town.

But it's also home to a sinking piece of history.

Scott McDougall, director of the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency, points out what remains of the Hero, an Antarctic research vessel from the 1960s. The ship, which had been docked near Willapa Bay for a decade, sank on March 4 — McDougall was the first person to file a report. While walking across the street to the Palix River, he

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