State attorney general, Bob Ferguson, recently charged a man for one count of causing a vessel to become abandoned or derelict after the man ran it aground in Juanita Bay.
Phuc Phan was the registered owner of a heavily modified 1969 Boatsmith vessel that sank to the bottom of Lake Washington after causing about $20,000 in damage to a pier in Juanita Bay on Oct. 6, 2017. Phan had added a self-built, top-heavy second level to the catamaran houseboat that he allegedly ran aground in the bay before it broke 70 feet of safety railing, cracked the concrete pier and damaged the lake bed.
“Derelict vessels cause substantial environmental damage and cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” Ferguson said. “My office will continue to hold environmental criminals accountable.”
Police had been continuously informing Phan, who was familiar to the King County Sheriffs Office, he could not ground vessels on tidelands in county or state waters and boats are prohibited within 300 feet of Juanita Beach Park. Phan acknowledged the warnings and knew his vessel was at risk of sinking, but didn’t take any action, court documents said.
Weather conditions worsened and the sheriff’s office was worried the top-heavy vessel would capsize and break apart. KCSO pumped enough water out of the vessel to prevent it from sinking and Phan subsequently hired a service to plug leaks and pump water out of his vessel so it could float.
The weather worsened and nearly blew the unanchored vessel into the pedestrian pier. The service crew subsequently abandoned the project and secured the vessel to the pier before it damaged the pier and sank.
Police continued to contact Phan and his lawyer, days after the incident, informing them of the need to remove the derelict vessel. Phan failed to act and the city of Kirkland impounded the vessel before removing it.
Ferguson filed the charges against Phan on Oct. 2, who will soon appear before King County District Court. As of the Reporter’s deadline, Phan has not filed a plea. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.