Inspection Reveals Significant Damage to MV Sparna on Columbia River

Mike Schuler
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March 23, 2016

The MV Sparna, a 623-foot Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier, lists to its port side after taking on water in void spaces after reportedly running aground while transiting the Columbia River near Cathlamet, Wash., March 21, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Inspections of the listing MV Sparna have revealed significant damage to the ship’s hull below the water line as a result of its grounding on the Columbia River near Cathlamet, Washington early Monday morning.

The findings were revealed in a damage assessment of the vessel which was submitted to the Coast Guard by Ballard Marine Construction early Tuesday morning.

The damage assessment, shared with both Washington and Oregon state responders, showed multiple fractures in the hull, the largest being a 25-foot by 5-foot wide fracture with a visible boulder lodged inside.

Damage to the Sparna was contained to two flooded compartments.

The Coast Guard, alongside state pollution responders, and a contracted oil spill response organization, continue to monitor pollution from the vessel, although there still have been no signs of oil or fuel spilled since the ship ran aground Monday morning.

The Sparna is fully loaded with grain in its cargo holds, and is carrying 218,380 gallons of high sulfur fuel and 39,380 gallons of marine diesel.

A unified command under the supervision of the Captain of the Port intends to move the vessel upriver to the Port of Longview Wednesday morning, as conditions permit.

“The cooperation between federal and state representatives continues to ensure the safety of the environment and the safety of the crew aboard the motor vessel Sparna,” said Capt. Dan Travers, commander Coast Guard Sector Columbia River.” Although there has been no pollution aspect to this point, we have prepared and have people in place to respond to the worst case scenario.”

A Coast Guard overflight Monday confirmed no pollution. Another overflight is scheduled for Wednesday.

Two tug boats, the PJ Brix and Pacific Escort, remain on scene with the Sparna to help maintain its position.

The Columbia River waterway remains open to all traffic, but the Captain of the Port may need to limit deep-draft commercial traffic once the Sparna begins its transit up river for repair.

Following the Monday’s grounding, the vessel was refloated and anchored in the vicinity. 

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