Oil Tanker Hits Bridge Linking Portsmouth, N.H. And Kittery, Maine

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (CBS/AP) — An oil tanker broke loose from a pier and struck a heavily traveled bridge that links New Hampshire and Maine, damaging it and closing it to traffic, but there was no sign of a spill and no reports of injuries, officials said.

The 473-foot Harbour Feature was reported to have broken free from the State Pier in Portsmouth and swung into the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge at about 1:30 p.m. Monday, Coast Guard Lt. Nick Barrow said. The Portuguese-flagged vessel, he said, was transporting tallow oil, an animal product that carries less of an environmental risk than a petroleum product in the event of a spill.

A tanker hit the Sarah Long Bridge in Portsmouth, NH Monday. (Photo courtesy: Rich Beauchesne)

A tanker hit the Sarah Long Bridge in Portsmouth, NH Monday. (Photo courtesy: Rich Beauchesne)

“It wasn’t under power at the time,” Barrow said. “It was moored up, and it somehow came unattached from the pier and floated free. But we’re unsure exactly how that transpired.”

The lift bridge carries the U.S. Route 1 bypass over the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine. It carries more than 15,000 vehicles per day.

Travis Jones was crossing what’s known as “middle bridge” here around 1:30 Monday afternoon when he watched the tanker just come loose from its mooring.

“Once the tide caught the bow it just swung it out and pushed it up against the bridge,” he said. “It’s crazy. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never seen a ship hit the bridge.”

Following the accident, the tanker was pinned against the bridge with the rising tide of the tidal river. Tug boats moved the vessel away from the bridge Monday evening between high and low tides, when currents were minimal.

The tanker had damage on the side that hit the bridge, but there was no evidence of any leaking, Barrow said.

The bridge was closed to traffic so transportation officials could inspect it and determine if repairs are necessary. The bridge is owned by Maine and New Hampshire.

“I can’t speak for what happened on board the ship. I can tell you that nothing at the facility failed. And it’ll be up to the Coast Guard to determine what may or may not have failed on the ship,” said Geno Marconi, the Port Director for the State of New Hampshire. “Something happened after it was secured and the vessel got off the dock and the lines broke and it ended up against the bridge.”

The bridge will remain closed into Tuesday and possibly longer to allow crews to inspect the structural damage and determine what repairs are necessary, said Bill Boynton, spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

“There’s definitely visible damage,” Boynton said. “How much damage isn’t clear.”

The lift span was operating Monday evening to allow for river traffic, officials said.

The 73-year-old Sarah Mildred Long Bridge is one of three bridges connecting Portsmouth to Kittery. The Memorial Bridge downriver closed to vehicle traffic in 2011 to allow for a replacement bridge to be built.
The closure of the bridge left just the high-level Interstate 95 bridge open. In January, the bridge was shut down for several days after its center span got stuck during a routine test.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • http://gcaptain.com/forum/marine-incidents/11656-product-tanker-hits-bridge-connecting-maine-nh-link.html#post104308 Product tanker hits bridge connecting Maine and NH (link)

    […] { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1326219984597-1'); }); http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/04/0…kittery-maine/ Somebody's having a BAD DAY! function fbs_click() […]

  • http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/04/02/nh-maine-bridge-closed-to-traffic-for-2-4-weeks-from-oil-tanker-crash/ NH-Maine Bridge Closed To Traffic For 2-4 Weeks From Oil Tanker Crash « CBS Boston

    […] N.H. (CBS/AP) — A bridge between New Hampshire and Maine that was hit by an oil tanker will remain closed to traffic for two to four weeks after an inspection found damage that caused […]

  • http://www.nhnewsfeed.com/portsmouth/nh-maine-bridge-closed-to-traffic-for-2-4-weeks-from-oil-tanker-crash/ NH-Maine Bridge Closed To Traffic For 2-4 Weeks From Oil Tanker Crash | New Hampshire News Feed

    […] PORTSMOUTH, NH (CBS) – The New Hampshire Department of Transportation dynamic Tuesday that 4 trusses are focussed on a Sarah Long Bridge, and there are petrify issues in a path over a river, though engineers are still inspecting to see if there is any some-more repairs following Monday’s collision that sent an oil tanker slamming into a bridge. […]

  • http://tcktcktck.org/2013/04/spill-derail-leak-crash-a-week-in-the-tar-sands-industry/49747 Spill, derail, leak, crash: A week in the tar sands industry » TckTckTck | the Global Campaign for Climate Action

    […] top off a bad week for tar sands, a tanker in the Piscataqua River in the U.S. accidently got loose from its moorings and rammed into a bridge that carries […]

  • http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/04/03/nh-maine-bridge-pier-damaged-in-tanker-collision/ NH-Maine Bridge Pier Damaged In Tanker Collision « CBS Boston

    […] officials say an underwater inspection of a bridge between Maine and New Hampshire that was hit by an oil tanker shows that one of the piers was […]

  • http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/04/04/repairs-for-bridge-linking-nh-maine-estimated-at-2-5-million/ Repairs For Bridge Linking NH, Maine Estimated At $2.5 Million « CBS Boston

    […] a private contractor based in Pittsfield, Maine, will be performing repairs on the bridge, which sustained structural damage Monday, when an oil tanker hit the span after becoming dislodged from its mooring. […]

  • http://politicalhotwire.com/current-events/87196-i-5-bridge-north-seattle-collapses-2.html#post2491964 I-5 Bridge North Of Seattle Collapses - Page 2

    […] […]

  • http://portsmouthforward.org/2015/04/16/the-master-plan-kickoff-creates-portsmouth-nostalgia/ The Master-Plan Kickoff Creates Portsmouth Nostalgia | Portsmouth Forward

    […] standing strong ever since; minus that whole tanker colliding with it in the Spring of 2014 (click here to read more about that)…other than that, it is a spectacle for all to […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Taz Show
Download Weather App

Listen Live