By Mark Edward Nero
The Sparna, a 623-foot bulk grain carrier that suffered major damage when it briefly ran aground near Cathlamet on the Columbia River two months ago, was cleared this week to leave its mooring after undergoing temporary repairs.
On May 23, the Captain of the Port for Oregon & southern Washington canceled an order on the motor vessel, thus allowing the Sparna to leave its mooring at Kalama, Washington.
“We have inspected the Sparna and have approved the temporary repairs to make the vessel seaworthy,” Lt. Cmdr. Ben Russell, chief inspections department, Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Portland, said this week. “Our inspection team has monitored the planning and implementation of the repairs over the last two months. We are comfortable with the outcome and wish the crew of the Sparna a safe voyage across the Pacific Ocean.”
The original Captain of the Port order was put in place immediately after the grounding incident and required that the ship undergo emergency repairs to the hull before departing to a foreign shipyard for permanent repair.
At the time of the incident, the Sparna was bound for Japan and fully loaded with grain as well as laden with 218,380 gallons of high sulfur fuel and 39,380 gallons of marine diesel, and was outbound.
It was heading west in the Columbia River with a river pilot still onboard when it ran into trouble around 12:15 a.m.
A boulder that was lodged inside the hull of the vessel during the incident was incased in steel and concrete and is still aboard the Sparna.
All repair work was completed to the satisfaction of the Coast Guard and the vessel’s flag state of Panama, according to the USCG.