Disabled Bulker Towed to Seattle after Engine Room Blast

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

February 26, 2018

Main diesel engine components malfunctioned on board a 653-foot bulk carrier and caused a localized explosion, Thursday, about 120 miles west of the Columbia River entrance.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Panamanian-flagged Federal Iris was en route from the Port of Changzhou, China, to pick up cargo in Longview, Wash., when the explosion occurred. There were no injuries to the 21 crew members aboard, but the damage rendered the main propulsion system inoperable.
The Federal Iris crew enacted emergency salvage operations and contracted the crew of the emergency response towing vessel, the Denise Foss, which is permanently stationed at Neah Bay, Wash.
The Denise Foss reached the Federal Iris Friday and towed it to Seattle, where the vessel is currently moored, according to its AIS data.
The 2016-built Federal Iris had been limited in operations even prior to the engine room explosion due to another propulsion issue and an inoperable ballast water treatment syste, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard said it will examine the vessel to ensure regulatory compliance.
"The Coast Guard maintains the safety of the port by preventing damage to property or the marine environment," said Capt. Tom Griffitts, commanding officer, Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland. "Our primary concern now is the safety of the vessel and the crew aboard. Inspectors will ensure the vessel can safely operate before it continues operating in U.S. waters."
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