Bulker Awaits Repair After Grounding on Columbia River

The KM London on trials (Liberian Registry)

By The Maritime Executive 12-20-2017 02:17:39

The cargo ship KM London remains at the port of Longview, Washington, five days after she was damaged in a grounding on the Columbia River. The Coast Guard said that she suffered hull damage due to the grounding and will be repaired in port. 

The KM London, a newly built, Taiwanese-owned freighter, was delivered in mid-November and had been in service for one month at the time of the grounding. A U.S. Coast Guard inspection on December 7 found ballast water management deficiencies, but she was not detained, and she departed Vancouver with a load of wheat for Nagoya, Japan on Thursday afternoon. 

That evening, the London went aground at river mile 54.5 near Crims Island, Oregon, on the north side of the Columbia shipping channel. The river pilot notified the U.S. Coast Guard of the grounding at 2010 hours. The London was taking on water in two forward compartments, but her crew successfully brought the flooding under control. A USCG helicopter aircrew and a small boat response crew found no signs of pollution. 

A second river pilot administered drug and alcohol testing to the London's crew and to the pilot who had the conn at the time of the grounding. No injuries were reported. 

On Friday morning, USCG inspectors and pollution control experts arrived on scene to investigate the incident.  The ship was successfully refloated on a high tide the same morning, and three tugs towed her ten river miles back to Longview, where she remains berthed at a breakbulk terminal. A ships' agent told local media that the damage can likely be repaired at the port.  

On Tuesday, a Coast Guard spokesman said that the cause of the KM London incident is currently under investigation. The vessel will remain in Longview until a captain of the port order is lifted. 

The KM London is the second vessel to run aground on the Columbia since July, when the chemical tanker Argent Cosmos grounded near Skamokawa with eight million gallons of ethanol and ethylene glycol. No pollution or flooding were reported in that incident; the suspected cause was the loss of a fuel pump.