Car Carrier Detained After Power Loss Off Oregon Coast Prompts Safety Inspections

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March 1, 2012

The Coast Guard has ordered the 648-foot car carrier Morning Spruce to remain in Portland, Ore., after inspections of the vessel revealed numerous safety hazards Tuesday.

The detention comes after the vessel lost, then regained, power approximately 12 miles southwest of the Columbia River entrance Sunday. Heavy seas sparked environmental fears as the vessel drifted off the Oregon Coast with 543,000 gallons of heavy, diesel and lube oil along with a full shipment of cars on board.  Ultimately power was restored approximately 4 1/12 hours by the ships engineer without incident.

But despite the luckily uneventful ending to the drama, the power failure was enough to prompt a required USCG inspection by Coast Guard Port State Control Branch of Marine Safety Unit in Portland revealing numerous safety deficiencies including fire control boundaries, excessive oil in machinery spaces, soft patches on fire main piping and heavy hydraulic leaks.

The USCG says the Morning Spruce is moored at Terminal 6 in Portland and will remain there until the violations have been corrected and further inspections have been passed.

“This type of control action continues to ensure that the Coast Guard will hold those vessels accountable that fall short of compliance with vital domestic and international safety, security and environmental regulations,” said Lt. Peter Raneri, Coast Guard Port State Control Branch Chief for Marine Safety Unit Portland. “To ensure protection of the port and environment, this vessel will be held in port until all deficiencies corresponding to the vessel’s substandard operation and condition have been corrected to the Coast Guard’s satisfaction.”

In 2011, the Coast Guard Port State Control Branch in Portland conducted 569 inspections and detained seven vessels.

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