MARITIME BRIEFS

MARITIME BRIEFS

EXPLOSION KILLS TWO

ABOARD RESEARCH VESSEL

SEATTLE - A depth charge exploded on board the U.S. research vessel Amy Chouest 20 miles off the Washington state coast Wednesday, killing two people on board, a U.S. Naval spokesman said.

The 265-foot, 1,589-ton vessel received little structural damage and it was not clear if it intended to put into port.

The spokesman, Lt. Tom Wiggans, said the oceanographic research ship was 20 miles off the town of Willapa in the southern portion of the state when the blast occurred.

The explosion was in the rear of the vessel, which is owned and operated by

Alpha Marine Services of New Orleans, La.

The names of the dead crewmen were not immediately released pending notification of relatives.

"Their bodies will be transported to Gray's Harbor by a Coast Guard lifeboat," Lt. Wiggans said.

CONTRACTOR TO BE PICKED

FOR ARSENIC CLEANUP

PHILADELPHIA - The Coast Guard expects to pick a contractor today or Friday to clean up an arsenic spill off Cape May, N.J., said Lt. John Flynn, a Coast Guard spokesman.

The 441 drums of arsenic were lost from the Santa Clara I in a January storm. Empresa Naviera Santa SA, the ship line that was carrying the cargo, is objecting to the Coast Guard move.

US REPORTS DECLINE

IN MERCHANT FLEET SIZE

WASHINGTON - The U.S. privately owned merchant fleet numbered 472 vessels Sept. 1 last year, a drop of nine ships from the total on same date in 1990, the Maritime Administration said.

The merchant fleet included 395 oceangoing ships and 77 Great Lakes vessels, the agency said.

It said the fleet's carrying capacity of about 22 million deadweight tons on Sept. 1 also represented a decline of about 285,892 dwt.