April 2, 2013

Maine-NH bridge supports damaged by tanker

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Tugboats seen in this aerial photograph hold the Harbour Feature in place against the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Kittery on Monday, after the tanker snapped its mooring lines at the New Hampshire State Pier in Portsmouth, N.H.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

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The incoming tide presses the tanker Harbour Feature against the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in the Piscataqua River Monday.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

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For Harbour Feature, including its size and last known port, click here.

The Coast Guard said the 20-foot dent was visible on the ship's port side, and there may be damage to the vessel's bridge.

Dive teams will inspect the ship underwater. The timing of that will depend on weather and tides.

"The inspection phase begins immediately and will go straight into an investigation phase to determine what happened and how to prevent it from happening again," Barrow said.

It would be unusual for the Coast Guard to charge anyone for the cost of inspections, he said.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said there was no direct environmental threat.

"Obviously a significant spill of any substance could cause environmental problems, but at least this vessel wasn't carrying a large amount of a petroleum product," she said.

Pingree said the ship's crew will get alcohol and drug testing.

Pingree is married to S. Donald Sussman, majority share owner of the Portland Press Herald.

The Coast Guard will lead the investigation and determine when the ship may be able to sail again. "It could be a long process," Barrow said.

About 50 to 75 people, including staff from the Coast Guard and the N.H. Department of Transportation, were involved in the response.

One onlooker, Kristy Nichols of Eliot, said she worried about the coming tourist traffic in the warmer months.

"We've already got one bridge down and now we've got this problem," Nichols said. "It could be rough going into the summer season."

-- Staff Writer Matt Byrne contributed to this report.

Jessica Hall may be reached at 791-6316 or at:


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Additional Photos

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An aerial photo shows the tanker Harbor Feature sitting sideways in the Piscataqua River after hitting the Sarah Long Bridge between Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H., on Monday.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

A tanker rests against the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge at 2:08 p.m. on Monday.


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