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Freighter Readied for Final Voyage

<i> From Reuters</i>

A 440-foot section of the freighter New Carissa, which has been grounded off the coast of Oregon for more than three weeks, began to ease its way off the beach Saturday, and crews prepared to scuttle it at sea.

“In time, she’ll just walk off the beach, like we were hoping for and planning for,” Coast Guard Capt. Mike Hall told reporters.

“There has been some movement, not a lot, not enough,” said Alan Hoffmeister, a Federal Bureau of Land Management officer.

Another Coast Guard official said the Panamanian-registered ship, which broke into two pieces and spilled some of its fuel oil last week in heavy seas in Coos Bay, had moved between 30 and 40 feet farther from the beach by Saturday.

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Tow lines were hooked up Friday between the bow section of the New Carissa and the Sea Victory tug. The ship, which had been parallel to the beach, was turned overnight and positioned for its tow to sea.

Plans call for the Sea Victory to haul the huge bow section more than 200 miles out in the Pacific, where the Coast Guard plans to shoot the ship full of holes to ensure an efficient sinking. The tow is expected to take two to three days.

The New Carissa ran aground 23 days ago en route to Oregon to pick up wood chips for delivery to Japan.

Battered by continued storms, it began leaking some of its 400,000 gallons of fuel oil Feb. 8. Most of the fuel oil was burned in a controlled fire by the Coast Guard. Officials believe 135,000 gallons remain in the New Carissa’s bow; they think the 200-foot stern section is empty.

Recreational shellfish harvesting is closed in two area counties. The commercial oyster industry in Coos Bay is also closed.

No plans have been announced for the New Carissa’s stern section. Some residents want it to remain on the beach as a tourist attraction.


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