Coast Guard bars cracked tanker from loading oil

March 30, 2009 

VALDEZ -- The U.S. Coast Guard barred a tanker from taking on a load of oil at Valdez last week after cracks were found in the ship.

The 24-year-old S/R Baytown belongs to SeaRiver Maritime Inc., a Houston-based subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp.

The ship's crew discovered a crack about 5 inches long in the main deck and notified the Coast Guard last Tuesday in Valdez, said Coast Guard Lt. Jesse Garrant. Another 4-inch crack was found in a part of the ship known as the coaming, which is a rim designed to contain spills, he said.

On orders from the Coast Guard, the ship owner made temporary repairs in Valdez and then sailed out of Valdez on Saturday -- without a load of oil -- for permanent repairs, Garrant said.

The Baytown is a single-sided, double-bottom tanker.

A SeaRiver spokesman couldn't be reached for comment late Monday.

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