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Makah Indian Tribe, Washington

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The tugboat Barbara Foss has left Neah Bay after six months on emergency call to prevent oil spills at the urging of state officials, environmentalists and the Makah Indian Tribe. The 125-foot vessel left the community at the northwesternmost tip of the state June 20 after her $1.4 million budget ran out. Another round of funding, including $1.65 million in state funds, starts in October. Shipping interests say stationing a tug here is a waste of money - that nearby tugs could reach a vessel in trouble in time. Supporters say the region risks a catastrophic spill with no tug on site. The Barbara Foss' two six-member crews had been rotated through since December. It also offered training to young Makah. The $7,500-a-day presence since Dec. 15 was financed mostly with $1.35 million collected from the Navy, the state and the federal Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. In April, the tribe and the state came up with money for another few months. The tribe's $400,000 contribution came from a fund created to pay for damage caused in 1991 when the fish-processor Tenyo Maru was struck by a Chinese freighter 20 miles west of here and sank, fouling beaches from here into Oregon.