Twenty Years Since New Carissa

 

February 1, 2019

The grounding and subsequent removal of the wood chip carrier New Carissa from an Oregon beach near the Port of Coos Bay remains one of the Pacific Coast's more controversial salvage jobs. Photo courtesy of US Coast Guard/NOAA.

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the grounding of the wood chip carrier new carissa on the Oregon coast near the Port of Coos Bay. In one of the coast's more involved and controversial salvage and disposal projects, response teams set fire to the ship's fuel tanks which cracked the vessel in half after which the bow section was re-floated, lost, re-found, re-floated and eventually towed 280 miles off the coast for disposal.

It was eventually sunk by a $1.2 million Mark 48 torpedo fired by the Navy's USS Bremerton after 400 pounds of scuttling explosives and 69 rounds of 5-inch shells fired by the destroyer USS David R. Ray failed to do the job.

The stern section, embedded in the beach by wave action, proved much more difficult to eradicate and was eventually dismantled in a complicated procedure managed by Titan Maritime using two jackup barges to straddle the wreck.

The final sections of visible steel were removed in 2008.

No charges were filed against any members of the new carissa's crew over the incident but shipowner Green Atlas Shipping and its insurer, Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association, ended up paying more than $22 million to the State of Oregon, $3 million of which was used to pay the state's legal fees.


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