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Ship’s Bow Pulled off Oregon Beach

March 8, 1999

WALDPORT, Ore. (AP) _ Aided by a favorable tide and an offshore storm, the broken-off, oil-laden bow of the freighter New Carissa was dragged off the beach today in the second attempt to send it to a deep-water burial.

The 424-foot-long bow section was pulled off the shore by the 7,200-horsepower tug Sea Victory, one of the most powerful on the West Coast.

It will be towed about 200 miles out to sea to be sunk in deep, cold water. The trip is expected to take at least 48 hours.

The bow, still holding an estimated 130,000 gallons of heavy oil, washed up near this town of 1,700 on the Central Oregon coast last Wednesday after breaking loose from the Sea Victory in a heavy storm.

This time, storms should not be a problem, with wind expected to decrease and seas running no more than 15 feet, said Bill Milwee, salvage consultant to the ship’s Japanese owners.

``There is no reason we should part a tow line in this weather,″ Milwee said today.

Once the bow reaches its intended burial site, plans call for a Coast Guard cutter to use its deck gun to sink the derelict in 12,000 feet of water, Coast Guard Cmdr. Dawayne Penberthy said today. The trick, he said, will be to put enough holes in the bow to sink it without rupturing the fuel tanks; a skimmer boat will be on hand to catch any spills.

The stern remains stranded near Coos Bay, 80 miles south, where the ship ran aground Feb. 4 during another storm.

When it struck the coast, the ship carried 400,000 gallons of thick bunker oil and diesel fuel for its engines.

About half of the oil was burned off by Navy explosives experts on Feb. 10, but hours after the fire, the ship split in two, spilling some 70,000 gallons.

Coast Guard officials have apologized to a man who was accused of fabricating a hoax that oil from the ship was killing birds.

Initial reports indicated the oil was different from that carried by the New Carissa, Coast Guard officials said. But recent test results suggest that the ship’s oil actually is washing ashore from the central Oregon Coast to southern Washington.

``The birds were oiled, and they were oiled by New Carissa oil,″ said Coast Guard Capt. Mike Hall.

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