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Ore. Ship Demolition Continues

February 15, 1999

COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) _ Demolition experts attempted to torch the remaining fuel from a heavily listing wreck on Sunday, estimating that 90 percent of the oil has been burned off the grounded freighter.

A helicopter dropped a fire accelerant on the ship Sunday afternoon to reignite one of the cargo holds of the New Carissa, which may have as much as 50,000 gallons of fuel oil remaining.

The practice was repeated several times throughout the afternoon, since the fire kept going out.

The New Carissa went aground nearly two weeks ago, and was found a week ago to be leaking. It was set ablaze Thursday to burn of the 400,000 gallons of fuel oil on board in the hope of avoiding a spill.

Tar balls have been spotted along the shore and 37 dead birds have been found. The tar balls were ``very few and far between,″ said Petty Officer J. Bigelow, a Coast Guard spokesman.

Most of the spilled fuel oil has broken up into gooey balls ranging in size from a pea to that of a mud pie, with as many as 10 such balls per square yard of ocean, according to Stephen Zylstra, a contaminants specialist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Over the next few months, the oil spill could kill hundreds, and perhaps several thousand seabirds, Zylstra said.

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