ASTORIA, Ore. — The Coast Guard is coordinating actions to protect the Oregon Coast from any threat posed by the 648-foot, Singapore-flagged car-carrier Morning Spruce that lost all power and was adrift in 12-foot seas, for approximately 4 ½ hours, southwest of the Columbia River entrance Sunday.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., Sunday, the Morning Spruce’s engineer was able to restore the ship’s power. The Coast Guard has directed the Morning Spruce to remain offshore until repairs to the ship have been verified. The Morning Spruce will require an escort from at least one seagoing tug before being allowed to cross the Columbia River bar. The Morning Spruce will anchor in Astoria and remain there until Coast Guard investigators and inspectors have thoroughly examined the ship.
Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, Ore., received a call from Morning Spruce at approximately 11:09 a.m., stating the vessel had lost all engine power approximately 12 miles southwest of the Columbia River entrance. Sector Columbia River ordered the owner of Morning Spruce to immediately contract tow vessels to hold the ship off the coast. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew was preparing to deliver an Emergency Towing System to the Morning Spruce.
The Sause Brothers tug Kokua is scheduled to arrive alongside the Morning Spruce at approximately 4:30 p.m. A second tug is scheduled to arrive at approximately 9 p.m.
The vessel contains approximately 543,000 gallons of heavy, diesel and lube oil along with a full shipment of cars.
"We are fortunate on two counts today,” said Capt. Bruce Jones, Coast Guard Captain of the Port for Sector Columbia River. “First, that the ship lost propulsion more than ten miles offshore and drifted generally south rather than east toward shore, and second, that there happened to be an available tug of opportunity approaching Astoria at the time.”
LATER:The Morning Spruce successfully crossed the Columbia River bar under escort of the tug Kokua. The Morning Spruce and Kokua were joined by the tug Vancouver near Astoria. Both tug vessels will escort Morning Spruce to Portland, Ore., where the Coast Guard will ensure a proper inspection of the vessel and its recent repairs.