New Carissa was a Panamanian-flagged dry bulk freighter optimized for carriage of woodchips. She ran aground on a beach near Coos Bay, Oregon, United States during a storm in February 1999. An attempt to tow the bow section of the ship out to sea failed when the tow line broke, and the bow was grounded again. No criminal liability was established and the captain and crew were not charged.
About New Carissa in brief
New Carissa was a Panamanian-flagged dry bulk freighter optimized for carriage of woodchips. She ran aground on a beach near Coos Bay, Oregon, United States during a storm in February 1999. An attempt to tow the bow section of the ship out to sea failed when the tow line broke, and the bow was grounded again. No criminal liability was established and the captain and crew were not charged. There were significant legal and financial consequences for the ship’s owners and insurer. The stern section remained aground for over nine years. It was dismantled and removed from the beach in 2008. Neither the captain nor any of the crew was injured in the incident. Recovery operations began immediately when the ship was first reported by the crew. A Unified Command, consisting of representatives from the Coast Guard, the State of Oregon, and rescue party, could not successfully rescue New Carissa. Only one tugboat was available locally, but she was unable to cross the Cooos Bay bar because of safety concerns. It is uncertain whether or not the rescue operations could have successfully rescued the ship. The U.S. Coast Guard performed an investigation and found that captain’s error was the main cause of the wreck; however, no criminal liability has been established. The ship’s Certificate of Financial Responsibility, which is required by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and included US$23 million of environmental liability insurance, was provided by Shipowners Insurance and Guaranty Company Ltd.
The vessel was built by Imabari Shipbuilding Co. in Japan using an all-steel construction, and was laid down on 30 August 1989. The freighter was 195 meters long and 32 meters wide, with a draft of 10. 8 meters when fully loaded. She had a maximum crew complement of 26 sailors, and had a home port of Manila, Philippines, and her crew at the time of her grounding consisted entirely of Philippine nationals, commanded by Benjamin Morgado. The crew was informed by the local bar pilots that weather conditions would prevent the ship from entering Cooose Bay harbor until the next morning. The captain ordered the ship to drop anchor 1. 7 nautical miles off the coast in order to ride out the storm. By the time the anchor was raised, the ship had been pushed too close to the shore to recover. Two of the five fuel tanks on the ship began to leak fuel onto the beach, eventually spilling approximately 70,000 US gallons of viscous viscous oil and diesel onto the sand and into the water. The United States Coast Guard review of the incident found that the chain used was too short. The short chain and the weather conditions, including winds of 20–25 knots, caused the shipto drag her anchor. The cargo ship was not refloatable by the time it was refloated by the coast guard on 4 February 1999, and attempts to refloats the ship failed. The salvage operation was unsuccessful. The wreck was eventually removed in October 1999.