President Proposes to Deepen Columbia River Channel
President George W. Bush recently delivered remarks on the Columbia River Channel Deepening Project in Portland, Ore., announcing a $15 million budget amendment for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction on the project. President George W. Bush said he will propose to add $15 million to the federal budget to fund deepening of the Columbia River navigation channel from the current 40 ft. depth to 43 ft.. This project, if approved, would allow ships to load larger grain cargoes for export. Following are excerpted comments from his speech, given August 13, 2004.
Car Carrier M/V Morning Spruce Adrift off Columbia River Entrance
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.
Coast Guard Creates Sector Columbia River
The Coast Guard created Sector Columbia River when Sector Portland, Ore. combined with Group/Air Station Astoria, Ore., during a ceremony in Astoria, August 23. The formation of Sector Columbia River is part of an initiative commonly referred to as "sectorization," part of a nationwide effort to consolidate the many responsibilities, missions and jurisdictions within the Coast Guard. The move is also aimed at increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of Coast Guard personnel and assets. "The merger of these two major Coast Guard commands is designed to help improve and streamline our operational command and control organization for our many missions allowing for better service to our customers throughout the entire Columbia River region and along the Oregon coast…
Pilot Lost off Columbia River Bar
The Coast Guard is searching for a Columbia River bar pilot who fell from a container ship near Astoria, Ore., Monday evening. The pilot fell overboard, while climbing down the ladder from the 558-foot merchant vessel Dry Beam to a Columbia River pilot vessel. The Coast Guard launched two 47-foot motor lifeboats from Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, Wash., and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Astoria, shortly after receiving the report Monday night. The 47-foot motor lifeboats searched for an hour before returning to the station due to severe weather conditions. The Jayhawk searched for the man until 12:30 a.m., before they too had to return due to heavy rain and fog that limited visibility to less than 100 feet.
Foss Tugboats Leave Columbia River
Foss Maritime Co. will lay off its 60 workers and leave the Columbia River, OregonLive.com reported. OregonLive said the Seattle company will sell its Columbia River business to Tidewater Barge Lines, which moves grain and other cargo along the Columbia-Snake river system, pitting Tidewater against Shaver Transportation Co. in another line of business, transporting river pilots and maneuvering large cargo vessels in and out of ports. OregonLive.com
Oregonian Raises New Questions
An independent review conducted and reported today by the Oregonian concludes that the government’s economic justifications for a controversial proposal to dredge the Columbia River are deeply flawed. The Corps of Engineers wants to spend $196 million to dredge more than 100 miles of the Columbia River. In a three-part series beginning today, the Oregonian will report that deficiencies in the analysis have significantly inflated the benefits to the region and an underestimated the costs to taxpayers. “The Corps of Engineers’ math does not add up,” said David Moryc, Lower Columbia River Coordinator for American Rivers. Since the Corps released their final Environmental Impact Statement in 1999…
Injured Crewman Hoisted over 170 mi off Columbia River
A Coast Guard aircrew performed a medical evacuation of an injured crew member from a 618-foot cargo vessel over 170 miles offshore from the Columbia River, Saturday. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Warrenton safely transported the 23-year-old man to the air station where he was transferred over to emergency medical personnel, who took him to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria. Watchstanders at Sector Columbia River received the assistance…
No Pollution from Grounded Cargo Ship
The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) said it responded to a 739-foot cargo ship aground in the Columbia River just north of the Astoria Northern Anchorage in Astoria, Tuesday. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River learned that the Panamanian-flagged motor vessel Mokpo Star ran aground after the crew attempted to adjust their position in the river using their anchors without proper authorization at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sector Columbia River personnel boarded the vessel along with a Columbia River Bar Pilot to investigate the cause of the grounding, potential pollution and how much fuel the vessel contained. The Coast Guard also ordered the vessel to hire a tug to be on immediate standby and to activate its required vessel response plan.
Vessel Runs Aground in Columbia River near Skamokawa
The Coast Guard is monitoring the transit of a motor vessel that ran aground in the Columbia River near Skamokawa, Washington, but was refloated, inspected and given a captain of the port order to transit to Kalama, Saturday morning. There was no report of pollution or injuries stemming from the grounding of the Nenita, a 738-foot Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier fully laden with grain. Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River were notified of the incident at 3:21 a.m.
Closure of Dalles Navigation Lock, Columbia River
On Sept. 30, Coast Guard Sector Portland, Ore. reported that it is monitoring and managing vessel traffic on the Columbia River east of Portland/Vancouver, Wash., due to the closure of the Dalles Dam lock in Dalles, Ore. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has temporarily closed the lock due to structural irregularities detected in the downstream gate. An assessment is being made to determine if repairs are needed. The Dam is located at Columbia River Mile 192, above Portland, and serves the eastern and upper Columbia River. The closure will impact marine traffic that normally travels through the dam. Deep draft shipping traffic downriver from the dam in the Portland/Vancouver area remains unaffected.
Bar Pilot Overboard, Missing
The U.S. Coast Guard used helicopters to search for a bar pilot who went overboard in rough weather near the mouth of the Columbia River. The bar pilot, who has not been identified, fell into the Pacific Monday night while trying to transfer from an outgoing freighter he had guided across the Columbia River Bar to a vessel that takes bar pilots back to their station, the Coast Guard said. Two 47-foot rescue boats had to return to Cape Disappointment because strong winds and rough seas made the initial search effort too dangerous. (Source: Associated Press)
Columbia River Mystery Spill Settled
The Washington State Department of Ecology issued a News Release stating that the Evergreen Marine Corporation has agreed to pay more than $130,900 to settle a penalty and other assessments related to a March 2001 oil spill into the Columbia River. Approximately 500 gallons of oily waste was found in the river in the vicinity of Kalama and was attributed to the M/V Ever Group. Source: HK Law
Washington State Approves Permits for Deepening of Columbia River
The Washington State Department of Ecology issued a Press Release stating that it has approved permits that will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deepen the Columbia River navigation channel from Portland to the mouth of the river. Source: HK Law
New USACE Contracts
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., LLC, Oak Brook, Ill., was awarded on April 30 a $10,248,000 firm-fixed-price contract for 2010 north coast dredging, including the mouth of the Columbia River. Work is to be performed along the Columbia River in Washington State and Oregon, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 1, 2010. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, Portland, Ore., is the contracting activity (W9127N-10-C-0026).
Freighter Briefly Grounds in Columbia River
A 528-foot foreign freighter grounded in the Columbia River near Skamokawa, Wash. The Coast Guard and other response personnel were responding to the incident. The Motor Vessel Global Challenger grounded in the vicinity of Pillar Point Range at river mile 30 while transiting upriver on the Columbia River. There are 258,836 gallons of heavy oil and 56,339 gallons of diesel onboard. Vessel personnel are currently taking soundings of all fuel tanks. At this time, there is no pollution in the water. Personnel from Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Portland are en route to the scene to investigate the incident. Four commericial tug boats are also en route to attempt to re float the freighter at high tide on Friday morning.
Columbia River Deepening Comments Welcome
The Washington State Department of Ecology has reopened the comment period with regard to the proposal to deepen the navigable channel of the Columbia River. Comments are sought with regard to possible ocean disposal of the dredge spoil. Comments should be submitted by June 9, 2003. (5/20/03). (Source: Haight Gardner Holland & Knight, May 2003)
Operation Make Way Conducted on Columbia River
The US Coast Guard stated that federal, state, and local officials conducted Operation Make Way along the lower portion of the Columbia River. The education and enforcement operation was designed to help boaters understand the need to give way and stay clear of commercial deep draft vessels restricted in their ability to maneuver. Twenty-eight violations were issued to recreational boaters during this operation. Source: HK Law
Vessel grounds, Refloats on Columbia River
The Coast Guard responded to a vessel grounded at the mouth of the Columbia River earlier this week. The motor vessel Apollon was grounded at the mouth of the Columbia River. The vessel was refloated, no pollution, damage to the vessel or injuries to the 21-member crew are reported. Coast Guard Group/Air Station Astoria, OR. Marine Safety Office Portland and Station Cape Disappointment responded to the grounding of the motor vessel Apollon, a 623-ft wheat carrier. The vessel was aground in the vicinity of the Clatsop Spit, Oregon between buoys 12 and 14. The Peruvian-flagged vessel, which was bound for the Philippines, refloated itself and proceeded out to sea on its own power.
American West Steamboat Purchases Columbia Queen
American West Steamboat Company is adding a third vessel, the Columbia Queen, to its fleet of luxury overnight small cruise ships that will operate on the Columbia, Willamette and Snake Rivers. In a recent auction held by the Maritime Administration (MARAD), American West Steamboat Company won the bid for the Columbia Queen, formerly owned by American Classic Voyages’ Delta Queen Steamboat Company. MARAD took possession of the Columbia Queen after American Classic Voyages filed bankruptcy in 2002. Pending the close of the sale, American West Steamboat Company will take possession of the Columbia Queen around mid-July at which time she will undergo some refurbishment before her first cruise on the Columbia River in the spring of 2003.
Kvichak to Build 72’ Pilot Boat
Kvichak Marine Industries was awarded a contract to build a self-righting 72’ all-aluminum pilot boat, Astoria, for the Columbia River Bar Pilots (CRBP) of Astoria, OR. The continued success and reliability of the Columbia and Chinook lead CRBP to once again choose Camarc, Ltd., of the U.K. as the designer and Kvichak Marine as the builder for the Astoria. The pilots operate the vessels over the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River. Known for its extreme weather and turbulent waters, the Columbia River Bar is where the Columbia River collides with the Pacific Ocean.
Kvichak Pilot Boat Delivered to CRBP
Kvichak Marine Industries recently delivered Astoria, a self-righting 74’ all-aluminum pilot boat, to the Columbia River Bar Pilots (CRBP) of Astoria, Oregon. Astoria is the third CRBP pilot boat designed by Camarc, Ltd., of the UK and built by Kvichak. The pilots christened Astoria at a ceremony last week where the vessel has joined Columbia, built in 2008. Chinook, built in 2000 is retiring this spring. The pilots operate the vessels over the bar at the mouth of the Columbia River.
Sound Freight Penalized for Discharge
The owner of a tug that released oily bilge water into the Columbia River last year is being penalized $21,000 by the Washington Department of Ecology. Sound Freight Lines’ tug Black Hawk discharged an estimated 150 gallons of lubricating and diesel oils while transiting near Willow Grove on the Columbia River during the morning hours of Jan. 29, 2009. The sheen went unreported until mid-day when observers on the river called the U.S. Coast Guard and Ecology. By then, it was too late for responders to do more than collect samples for further investigation. Ecology spills investigators collected samples from all the commercial vessels that had been in the area at the time of the spill and were able to match the oily discharge to the Black Hawk’s bilge contents.
Unlit Loaded Barge Set Adrift in Columbia River
Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Warrenton, Ore., received a call from personnel at the Tidewater Barge facility informing them that one of their loaded grain barges was missing from the Hayden Island staging area between Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash. Crewmembers of the Lori B, a passing tug, came upon the 42-foot wide and 252-foot long barge floating near the navigation channel and towed it to back to the staging area. Crews from the Lori B and another tug, Outlaw, inspected the other two staging areas and confirmed all other barges remained securely moored. The Tidewater Barge employee who made the initial report indicated that the mooring cable for the barge was not cut, but the ratchets used to hold it in place appeared to have been intentionally loosened.