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Ship’s Bow Pulled Off Oregon Beach

March 9, 1999

WALDPORT, Ore. (AP) _ This time, the Navy is going to make sure the New Carissa never comes back.

The freighter’s broken bow section _ which twice ran aground on some of Oregon’s most pristine beaches _ was again being towed out to sea for burial, along with its 130,000 gallons of thick bunker fuel.

Plans call for the Navy destroyer USS David R. Ray to use its 5-inch guns to sink the ship, probably Wednesday or Thursday.

Other options were being reviewed, including air strikes and placing explosives aboard the wreck, said Lt. Cmdr. William Fenick, a spokesman for the Navy’s Pacific Northwest command.

Coast Guard Cmdr. Dawayne Penberthy said the 420-foot bow section will be sunk in about 12,000 feet of water about 250 miles out. By late Monday it was nearly 60 miles from shore.

A week ago, the tow cable between the bow section and the tug Sea Victory was snapped in a storm. The wreck drifted for hours before washing up in Waldport, 80 miles north of Coos Bay, where it originally ran aground Feb. 4.

It was pulled off the beach Monday.

Worries ashore turned to the estimated 70,000 gallons of oil the New Carissa spilled while it was aground at Coos Bay. Much of it has yet to wash up, though tar balls have been seen as far away as southern Washington.

Biologists said 312 birds have died since the ship first spilled oil Feb. 8. There was oil visible on at least 139 of the birds.

Meanwhile, the ship’s 220-foot stern section still sits mired in the sand at Coos Bay. Salvage crews have yet to decide what to do with it.

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