FIRM PULLS PLUG ON PORT'S ONLY FUELING STATION

July 27, 2001 12:00 am

By JEFF ST. PETER

The Port of Brookings Harbor has learned that the only marine fueling station on the docks will be shutting down Monday.

That means fuel will be harder to come by for commercial and recreational boaters until the port can get its own fuel station built, officials said.

Eureka Fisheries of Eureka, Calif., which has been temporarily closing all its facilities up and down the Pacific Coast, will no longer operate its fueling station after Monday, according to Chuck Moulton, manager of the port facility.

?It?s permanent, as far as I know,? he said Thursday morning. He couldn?t comment any further on the closure.

Peter Hall, president and general manager of Eureka Fisheries, had not returned calls from the Pilot as of Friday afternoon.

Moulton, the only remaining employee at Eureka Fisheries facility at the port, said he is unsure of his work status after the 31st.

Eureka Fisheries had temporarily closed its operations at the port earlier this summer. That closure is also permanent, according to Moulton.

The facility, located on the north end of the Sports Basin (Boat Basin I) has been for sale since this past spring. The closure was first reported by Port Manager Russ Crabtree early Thursday morning.

?I believe it is shut down permanently,? he said. ?My feeling is that it is done.?

Crabtree was preparing to leave for Salem with Port Commissioner Ed Gray to get emergency status declared so construction of a new marine fueling station could begin immediately.

?We need to move fast so we can construct a new facility,? he said.

Crabtree and Gray were also planning a meeting with John Seaders of MSS Engineering in Corvallis Thursday to get the design end of the project underway.

Construction of the marine fueling station will still take about four months, Crabtree said.

Until then the port will look at stop-gap measures to meet the needs of local boaters, charter services, commercial fishermen and the U.S. Coast Guard, many who have purchased fuel in the past from Eureka Fisheries.

?I hope the fuel customers will be tolerant and work with us until we can get our facility up and running,? he said. ?We will be working with local fuel distributors and suppliers on getting temporary fueling in place.?

The new fueling station will be located on the transient dock in Boat Basin II, almost directly across the inlet from the Coast Guard station, Crabtree said.

Two fuel tanks will be installed: a 12,000 gallon diesel tank, and an 8,000 gallon unleaded fuel tank.

Crabtree said the port will own and operate the new fueling station. He said that will help insure a consistent source of marine fuel and also keep the cost of fuel down to the consumer.

Cost of the marine fueling station is projected at about $400,000.

The port has already received two grants totalling approximately $360,000.

The balance of the cost is already covered by the port?s budget, Crabtree said.

While the Coast Guard is one of the biggest purchasers of marine fuel at the port, their operation won?t be deterred by the closure, according to Master Chief Boatswain?s Mate Fred Bowman, the current officer in charge at the Coast Guard Station Chetco River.

?We will work with a local provider to supply our needs,? Bowman said. ?We will trailer our smaller craft and take them to a gas station for fueling.

?It won?t affect our response time in any way.?

Bowman said the Coast Guard will appreciate the new fueling station.

?We are looking forward to having a new fueling resource, locally,? he said. ?We will have no problem making do until it is open.?

Tony Kronemeyer, owner/operator of Bite My Hook Sporthaven Marina, said his business won?t be affected by the closure.

However, he said his customers may feel the pinch.

?It will really affect the charter services, like Tidewind, who purchase all their fuel at Eureka Fisheries,? he said Thursday.

?They will have to scramble to find another source until the new station opens,? he said. ?Some of our senior boaters who dock their boats in the basin will suffer too, as it will be difficult for them get fuel down to their boats.?

As of Friday afternoon, Crabtree hadn?t returned to the port from Salem.

was unable to contact him for an update on the project.