BRIDGE-STRIKE TANKER UNDER REPAIR IN PORTLAND

BRIDGE-STRIKE TANKER UNDER REPAIR IN PORTLAND

The crude carrier Keystone Canyon, which rammed the Astoria 101 Highway Bridge in Oregon last week after heavy winds ripped it from its moorings, will undergo repairs at the Port of Portland's shipyard.

The 124,500-deadweight-ton tanker, owned and operated by Keystone Shipping Co., sailed to the yard under its own power, escorted by four tugs and a spill response vessel. It arrived Friday.According to a Coast Guard report, the vessel was carrying no cargo but had 588,000 gallons of bunker fuel aboard. It broke free of its moorings at the Port of Astoria on the Columbia River under winds gusting about 70 miles an hour.

Bruce Benn, a Keystone vice president, said last week that the Canyon was berthed at Astoria for a "critical area inspection" by the Coast Guard. "It was empty and fully cleaned," he said, and ready for the trip to Valdez, Alaska, to load oil.

When the incident occurred, the Coast Guard inspectors were on board, as well as the tanker's entire crew. The ship hit two underwater abutments on the highway bridge and was grounded. There were no injuries reported and no reports of pollution.

There was some superficial damage to the Astoria bridge, which connects Oregon and Washington. Oregon state authorities closed it for a day for an inspection. It reopened Thursday.

The Keystone Canyon has a three-foot gash in its No. 1 port tank and a smaller hole in the No. 2 port. Mr. Benn said the Coast Guard was inspecting the damages Friday. He estimated that repairs will take about five days but had no guess on how much they will cost.

Repairs will be done by Cascade General Inc., contractor at the Portland Ship Yard, which is owned by the port. West State Inc., another contractor at the yard, recently went out of business because of lack of work at the facility.

"We've been accused of setting this (accident) up," quipped port spokesman Dick Montgomery. "But this is a God story."