It took 70 shells fired from a nearby destroyer, a barrage of artillery fire blasted from five-inch guns and a torpedo shot from a nuclear submarine to finally force the Japanese-owned oil ship to sink into the sea.
Salvage experts said sinking the oil-laden hull was the only way to finish off a wayward wreck that has fouled two Oregon beaches and still contains 130,000 gallons of fuel oil.
"The only thing more stubborn and uncooperative than Mother Nature was the New Carissa herself," Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber wrote in a statement declaring Friday "Two-thirds of the New Carissa at the Bottom of the Ocean Day."
"We burned her, we burned her again, then we broke her in half, dragged her out to sea, then dragged her through a hurricane," said Kitzhaber. "But to everyone's displeasure, she wound up back on Oregon's coast."
|Two weeks ago, explosives experts tried to burn off the ship's oil. (CBS)|
The saga of the New Carissa began Feb. 4 when the 600-foot freighter with 400,000 gallons of fuel oil on board ran aground off Coos Bay. Globs of oil washed ashore, leading to the deaths of hundreds of sea birds.
Two weeks ago, explosives experts blasted the tanker to burn off some of the oil still on board. After that, the Navy tried to tow the ship back to sea, but it broke away and washed back to shore. Although it finally did break in two, the stubborn ship still stayed above water.
A navy commander said it seemed to have nine lives.
Finally, 300 miles out in the Pacific Ocean, the New Carissa succumbed and slipped into the sea where experts claim the sticky and toxic oil will be trapped in a semisolid state, unable to further harm birds and beaches.