Coast Guard detains Singapore-flagged car carrier

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, Ore., issued a detention order against a Singapore-flagged car carrier after a series of events that began when the ship lost power. At approximately 11.09 a.m.Sunday, the 648-ft, 28,210 dwt, 1981-built Morning Spruce was approximately 12 miles southwest of the Columbia River entrance when it notified the Coast Guard that it had lost all engine power, leaving it adrift in 12 ft seas.

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port issued an order directing the owner of the Morning Spruce to immediately contract for tow vessels to hold the ship offshore.  In addition to its cargo the Morning Spruce was reportedly carrying a combined 543,000 gallons of heavy oil, diesel and lube oil.

Engine power was restored around 3:30 p.m. Sunday and the Coast Guard monitored the progress of the vessel, escorted by the tug Kokua, as it cleared the Columbia River bar.  The Kokua and Morning Spruce were joined by another tug, the Vancouver, for the transit to Portland, Ore.  The Coast Guard then made preparations for an inspection of the Morning Spruce as it arrived in Portland. 

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland's Port State Control Branch conducted an inspection of the ship Tuesday, revealing numerous safety hazards, resulting in the detention of the vessel.  The safety hazards included excessive oil in machinery spaces, inadequate patches made on the vessel's fire-main piping, heavy hydraulic oil leaks and inadequate fire control boundaries.  The control action will remain in effect until the violations are corrected and verified through follow up inspections.

The registered owner of the Morning Spruce is Eukor Car Carriers of Singapore and the manager is Wallenius Marine Singapore.

March 2, 2012