Bulk carrier refloated, proceeds to Washington pier

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The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(WARRENTON, Ore.) — A Unified Command consisting of the Coast Guard, operators of the motor vessel Sparna, Columbia River Pilots and the National Response Corporation Environmental Services oversaw the safe transit of the damaged ship up the Columbia River to the North Kalama, Wash., pier on Wednesday afternoon.

Sparna, a 623-foot Panamanian-flagged grain bulk carrier, started the transit from its anchorage near river marker 36 with the assistance of two tugs and a Coast Guard safety zone escort at about 12:30 p.m., and moored at the Kalama North pier at about 6 p.m.

As a precaution, Sparna was followed by a NRC vessel with pollution response capabilities. The vessel’s fuel tanks remained intact throughout the incident.

“The main objectives during the transit was to maintain the safety of the Sparna crew, maintain a safe navigational channel throughout the transit and respond as necessary to environmental concerns,” said Cmdr. Jonathan Hellberg, incident commander. “The successful transit was a unified team effort, and we are very pleased with the outcome.”

A 100-yard safety zone surrounding Sparna was put in place by the captain of the port throughout the transit. After the safe transit upriver the captain of the port lifted the safety zone and the Columbia River is now open to all traffic.

Sparna briefly ran aground at 12:16 a.m. Monday, fully loaded with grain in its cargo holds and carrying 218,380 gallons of high sulfur fuel and 39,380 gallons of marine diesel. 

The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff