“Coast Guard, other agencies to remove 2 abandoned vessels from Columbia River in Portland, Ore.” –One of Them Is a Former US Coast Guard Cutter

The Active-class cutter USCGC Alert (WMEC-127) moored on the Columbia River, by Hayden Island in Portland, Oregon. Seen on 14 August 2019. Photo from Wikipedia by godsfriendchuck.

Just saw this news release and realized they were talking about the former USCGC Alert (WMEC-127). We talked about this ship and its unfortunate post Coast Guard history earlier including a lot of information in the comments.

Since this was what passed for a WMEC when I entered the academy in 1965, you can see why I sometimes see the Webber class FRCs as MECs. The FRCs have more freeboard.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 13th District PA Detachment Astoria

Coast Guard, other agencies to remove 2 abandoned vessels from Columbia River in Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Coast Guard and other agencies have approved a plan Wednesday to remove two abandoned vessels from the Columbia River in Portland.

The vessels Alert, a 125-foot vessel, and Sakarissa, a 100-foot vessel, are currently sunk off Hayden Island. They are adjacent to the Interstate 5 Bridge and a mile upriver from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad bridge.

Due to hull deterioration and oil saturation of the vessels’ interiors, they have been discharging a sheen into the waterway. They also pose a collision hazard for vessels operating outside the navigation channel.

“Even though the Coast Guard oversaw the removal of thousands of gallons of diesel and oily water from these vessels in 2020, they still pose a risk,” said L.t. Lisa Siebert, the Incident Management Division Supervisor at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River – Detachment Portland. “We have worked closely with our State and local partners to develop an integrated plan to remove these vessels and protect the public and the environment.”

This project will be funded in two phases. During the first phase, the Coast Guard plans to use the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) to raise the vessels and transport them to a facility in order to safely pump any remaining oil waste product from the vessels. During the second phase, the Oregon Department of State Lands, with funding support from Metro, is scheduled to assume custody of the vessels for final disposal.

The Coast Guard was granted authorization to access the OSLTF for $1 million for its phase of the project. There is currently a ceiling amount of $500,000 for each vessel. This amount is determined for the response based on anticipated obligations. Since this is just an estimate, this ceiling is subject to change during the response.

The Coast Guard plans to begin operations in early September, starting with dive assessments to determine the safest way to raise and transport the two vessels. The Coast Guard plans to conduct operations to raise the vessels throughout the month of September. 

“These plans are preliminary and we will continuously assess our plan and make adjustments if needed,” Siebert said. “Throughout this response, the safety of the public and responders will remain our top priority.”

During project activities, the immediate vicinity of the area will be closed to public access.

“I’m incredibly happy our partnerships and hard work resulted in a much-needed plan to remove these vessels,” Siebert said. “This project is truly a team effort and we can’t do it alone.”

Involved in developing the plan were the Coast Guard, Oregon Department of State Lands, Metro, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For the most up-to-date information about this project, follow us on Twitter at @USCGPacificNW.

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