A pair of tugs support the 623-foot motor vessel Sparna under the Lewis and Clark Bridge while transiting to a pier in Kalama,Wash., March 23, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
The severely damaged MV Sparna has reached a safe berth at a North Kalama, Washington pier on Wednesday afternoon two days after the bulk carrier ran aground on the Columbia River.
The 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, the Sparna was followed by a National Response Corporation vessel with pollution response capabilities. The vessel’s fuel tanks remained intact throughout the incident and transit.
“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 the damaged vessel 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 re-opened the river to all traffic.
The Sparna briefly ran aground at 12:16 Monday morning, fully loaded with grain in its cargo holds, and carrying 218,380 gallons of high sulfur fuel and 39,380 gallons of marine diesel.
A damage assessment showed multiple fractures in the hull, the largest being a 25-foot by 5-foot wide fracture with a visible boulder lodged inside. The fractures caused the ship to take on water, making the ship list slightly to port.
The cause of the incident is still under investigation.
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