Monday, May 22, 2006

 

Settlement may be near in fight over shipwreck

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The Seattle Times
May 19, 2006


SALEM, Ore. — A proposed settlement to end an appeal of a $25 million jury award against the owners of the New Carissa shipwreck will be considered next week by the Oregon State Land Board.

The New Carissa ran aground just offshore from Coos Bay in February 1999. Efforts to free the wood-chip freighter failed and attempts to burn off its engine fuel broke the ship in half, spilling oil into the bay and its oyster beds.

The bow of the 660-foot ship was eventually towed to sea and scuttled with a torpedo from a Navy submarine. But the stripped-down remains of the stern still are stuck in the sand at a state beach on the North Spit of Coos Bay.

In November 2004, a Coos County jury found the ship's owners guilty of negligent trespass and awarded the state $25 million to pay for removal.

But the $25 million award is in an escrow account awaiting an appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals by the ship's owners.

The land board will meet in executive session Tuesday to discuss the settlement proposal, followed by a public session. If a settlement is reached, it will be offered as a motion followed by a vote, said Julie Curtis, board spokeswoman.


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