Screenshot of overflight provided in the video below.

Screenshot of overflight provided in the video below via NECN

A 16,909 DWT oil product tanker has struck the Sarah Mildfred Long bridge on the Piscataqua River, the river that forms the border between southern Maine and New Hampshire.

According to a report by the US Coast Guard, the 473-foot M/T Harbour Feature is believed to have suffered a mechanical failure before alliding with a span of the Sarah Mildfred Long Bridge at approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday.  The report says that the crew has deployed both anchors and the vessel has suffered a six-to-twelve inch rupture above the waterline near the port ballast tank.

No pollution or injuries were reported and the bridge has been closed as crews assess salvage options and damage to the bridge.

The Harbour Feature is carrying an unknown amount of tallow oil and tugs are on scene.

AIS Data provided by

Click to view

Click to view

Update 1: We should point out that the tanker is actually closer to the New Hampshire side of the river.  The bridge crosses the NH-ME state line in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine.

The below screenshot from shows the Harbour Feature still pinned against the bridge at 5:19pm EST.
The Coast Guard has indicated that the two tugs will attempt to free the vessel at slack tide.

Click to view live webcam

Click to view live webcam

Update 2: The Coast Guard says that at approximately 6 p.m., two tugs freed the 473-foot tanker Harbour Feature from the Sarah Long Bridge during a slack tide. The tanker is now at a nearby state pier. No injuries or pollution were reported as a result of the allision.

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 3.58.17 PM

Click image to interact. map via

Click image to interact. map via


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  • Capt Geest

    Provided she isnt hard aground, they might have a chance to pull her off the bridge once the tide slacks. Looks like there’s a fair bit of surge pressing her against the bridge in that video.


    • J Kane

      gCapt – Not to be jerky, but that’s a New Hampshire bridge she’s hit. Maine’s the far side of the channel, and right now Harbour Feature has her stern pointed right at the New Hampshire Port Authority wharf. Capt. Geest, she’s got plenty of water under her right there, but the tide does move right along. I’ve heard there was mechanical failure, but nothing more. Someone goes sideways on one or the other side of that bridge, right there, every couple of years…

  • Teacher Gramma

    The word that describes a large object hitting another is “collision” (not “allision”). The past tense is “collided” (not “allided”). The imperfect indicative is “colliding” (not “alliding”).

    These sentences should be changed:
    Original story, 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence:
    “…suffered mechanical failure before colliding…”

    Update 2, last sentence:
    “No injuries or pollution were reported as a result of the collision.”

    • Frank Black


    • Wesley

      ‘Allision’ is an instance where a moving object strikes a fixed object, whereas ‘collision’ is an instance where two moving objects strike each other.

      • Michael Grosh

        Good job Wesley

    • http://NONE PAUL

      Hey Douche… teh correect term IS allide…Douche…

    • Chuck Lantz

      Dear Teacher,

      No apple for you today. “Allision” is the correct usage, as others have pointed out. The clue is the “co” in “collision.” A moving object allides with a non-moving object. Two moving objects “co-llide.”

      NOW can I please have a hall pass so I can go to the bathroom?

      • Wesley

        Bit of a brain-teaser:

        If a moving car crashes into a parked car, is it an allision or a collision?

        Allision is an accident between a moving object and a fixed object, and a collision is an accident between two moving objects…

        … however, a parked car is neither moving nor fixed?

        I don’t know the answer!

  • Hope Wright

    Thanks Wesley for educating some of us with that distinction!

  • Hope Wright

    Thanks Wesley for educating some of us with that distinction!!

  • Dick

    ALLISION, maritime law. The running of one vessel against another. It is distinguished from collision in this, that the latter means the running of two vessels against each other; this latter term is frequently used for allision.

  • Capt. George W. Duffy

    A.I.S. plot shows vessel proceeding to sea from upriver loading berth. She appears to have passed under center span of Sarah Long Bridge, but stops shortly thereafter. Photos show center span in raised position. Tugs were escorting vessel and plot shows vessel moving towards adjacent State Pier. The Piscataqua River at flood stage could be as much as 4 knots and presumably tugs could not cope with this. Low tide occurred at 9:50 AM and high tide was expected at 4:12. Vessel was thus carried broadside against stationary section of bridge.

    Writer worked many years as boarding agent in Portsmouth and is well aware of above stated conditions.


    • kh

      What happened was the tugs brought the ship from upriver and moored it at the state pier (for refueling, the reports say), just downriver from the bridge. A short while after, something failed and it pulled away from the pier and drifted for about 5 minutes before hitting the bridge. The tugs arrived only after it had hit the bridge.

      I’ve never had anything to do with ships or the port, but I’ve seen the web cam video.

  • Ron Palmer

    Must be a good reason why an anchor or two was not dropped when they had the engine failure and before they hit the bridge. Not suggesting that it would have prevented the ship hitting the bridge but it would assist in getting it off. Basic seamanship is to let go an anchor in such circumstances.

  • Evan

    Web cam video (time lapse) from that day:

    You want the video on bottom that says “Below – time-lapse for yesterday (24hrs)” – it’s from Monday, regardless of what the label says.

  • Bill

    As these post do show we mariners have alot of time for opinions on our hands!!! Thanks to Wesely for making me smile today!!!!!ROLFLING!!

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