Coast Guard Responds to Drifting Vessels

PORTLAND, Ore. – Coast Guard Sector Portland, including the crews of the Coast Guard Cutter (CGC) Bluebell and Station Portland, responded to the drifting decommissioned Navy LCI (L)-713 (landing craft infantry) and the decommissioned CGC Alert on the Columbia River Monday, March 26.

Coast Guard Sector Portland received a call at approximately 8 a.m. reporting that the LCI and Alert were drifting away from their moorings towards the Vancouver-Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge. The vessels are typically tied together and moored at the Thunderbird Hotel’s dock at Jantzen Beach, OR.

The Alert, decommissioned in 1969, is currently owned by the Cutter Alert Preservation Team, a non-profit organization.

As the LCI and the Alert drifted together, the vessels became hung up on a wing dam about an 1/8 of a mile south of their moorings.

Yesterday evening Tidewater Company’s tugboat, Betty Lou, towed both vessels safely back to the dock where it was discovered that the Alert had suffered significant hull damage while caught between the LCI and wing dam causing it to take on water.

Coast Guard members took immediate action to control the flooding. They placed two pumps on board and with the help of divers worked throughout the night making temporary repairs to minimize flooding. Currently, Sector Portland has hired a contractor who is working to assess the degree of damage and mitigate pollution.

The Coast Guard Federal on-Scene Coordinator has been working since Monday evening to ensure that the fuel oil from the Alert is safely offloaded to avoid any possible pollution to the Columbia River.

Coast Guard members will remain on scene until the threat has been removed.

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