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MV New Carissa

2.7 miles off Coos Bay, Oregon | 1999-Feb-04

Initial Notification: At 0900 PST on February 4, 1999, the M/V New Carissa, a 639-foot bulk freight ship of Panamanian registry, went hard aground in heavy seas about 150 yards off a stretch of remote, undeveloped sandy beach three miles north of Coos Bay, Oregon. Heavy surf and high winds throughout the next several days made boarding the vessel difficult and dangerous. While the preferred option was to salvage the vessel with the oil on board, the Unified Command requested that contingency plans for vessel lightering, cleanup and pollution response be developed. The longer the ship remained grounded, the greater the risk of it leaking its load of nearly 400,000 gallons of fuel oil. Moreover, a small group of endangered snowy plover was located approximately 800 yards south of the vessel. In fact, on February 8, shipboard personnel observed oil burping out alongside the ship from a small crack in the hull and on the beach near the ship. On February 9, a tug tried to pull the ship off the beach. But by then winds and waves had driven the New Carissa approximately 600 feet further shoreward, beyond the operational reach of the salvage vessel and its ability to safely anchor near the surf zone. The bow section was towed and sunk on March 11, 1999 in 1,811 fathoms of water 282 nautical miles off the Oregon coast. 58 Federal, state, county, and local agencies took part in the month-long response. NOAA, Oregon Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Parks and Recreation, DOI Bureau of Land Management, U. S. Fish and Wildlife, U. S. Forest Service, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve identified and prioritized sensitive environments potentially at risk. A total of 537 birds died (239 oiled; no endangered snowy plovers), with 201 birds at the rehabilitation center (172 oiled; no snowy plovers) as of March 1999. Media interest remains high. Thirteen months after the spill, NOAA and the Coast Guard continue to maintain the following incident web sites, which contain public press release information, Coast Guard pollution reports, and digital photographs: http://www.uscg.mil/d13/units/grunbend/airstation/grounding http://www.uscg.mil/d13/dpa/news As of March 8, 2000, these web sites had totalled over 45,800 hits. USCG district 13. Keyword: In-situ burning, salvage, endangered species.

Incident Details
Primary threat:Oil
Tags:Grounding
Products of concern:number 2 fuel oil
Latitude (approximate): 43° 23.92′ North
Longitude (approximate): 124° 18.78′ West
On-Water Recovery: Applied
Shoreline Cleanup: Applied
Dispersants: Unknown/Not applicable
In-Situ Burn: Applied
Bioremediation: Unknown/Not applicable