The Port of Astoria is hiring a marine engineer to assess an estimated $100,000 worth of damage to the west side of Pier 2 after the Queen of the West ran into it last month.
Run by American Cruise Lines, the sternwheeler travels between Lewiston, Idaho, on the Snake River down the Columbia River to Astoria.
Matt McGrath, the Port’s director of operations, said the vessel was coming in at night on April 18 on an outgoing tide to moor at the pier when it lost control and attempted to correct course.
“He literally hit almost head-on on Pier 2,” McGrath said.
The impact tore through at least 20 fender, guide and bearing piles, along with bolts and other parts of the pier, McGrath said. It left a wooden curb on the north end of the pier near Da Yang Seafoods hanging halfway off, and numerous snapped pilings swaying in the waves.
The Coast Guard sequestered the vessel. The crew contracted WCT Marine & Construction for repairs and was able to leave that night, McGrath said. An initial assessment for the Port by marine contractor Bergerson Construction found approximately $100,000 worth of damage.
McGrath said American Cruise Lines has been up front about its responsibility.
“I’m confident they’ll pay,” said Jim Knight, the Port’s executive director.
The Port Commission on Tuesday approved spending up to $25,000 for engineering consultant BergerABAM to provide a more detailed assessment of the damage to Pier 2 and recommend repairs or replacements.
The Port had started a similar investigation in 2014 after the bulk carrier Global Endeavor ran into the northwest corner of Pier 1 while coming in to load logs. The Port was unable to get any recompense because it could not prove the condition of the dock prior to the collision.
“We can go over and see snapped piling (from the Queen of the West) on Pier 2 really easily,” McGrath said.
The Port also has leverage because American Cruise Lines often requests berthing space at the Port, McGrath said.
The Port Commission also approved approximately $23,000 in reimbursements to Bornstein Seafoods for work the company paid for under the Pier 2 seafood processing warehouse. The company faced a freezer sinking into a void under Pier 2 and hired Bergeman Construction to insert helical piers for support. The Port did not have the specialized equipment or know-how to insert the piers under the building’s foundation, McGrath said.
The reimbursement to Bornstein can be included in pending claims the Port has with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. because storms in December 2015 contributed to the damage under the building’s foundation, Knight said.