Oil tankers may need tug escorts on Columbia River

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — A new study says more tethered tug escorts may be needed for oil tankers on the Columbia River if tanker traffic increases due to new marine terminals.

The Daily Astorian reports that the study commissioned by the Washington Legislature says five proposed bulk terminals could create up to 1,379 additional one-way trips, mostly by tankers.

Most of the proposed projects are in Washington state. A methanol refinery has been pitched for Port Westward near Clatskanie.

The report by the Washington Department of Ecology says the agency will work with a harbor safety committee to develop standards that could be put in place when a new facility is built and increases tanker traffic.

The last major oil spill on the Columbia River was March 1984, when the SS Mobil Oil grounded on Warrior Rock near St. Helens, spilling 200,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil.