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Ships Collide Off Coast; One Near Sinking

September 21, 1987

A 564-foot cargo freighter that collided with a car-carrier ship today in dense fog about 125 miles northwest of Los Angeles was listing considerably and in danger of sinking, the Coast Guard said.

The Pac Baroness, a Liberian-registered bulk carrier containing copper-content lead, and the 494-foot Atlantic Wing, a Panamanian freighter carrying Hondas to the East Coast, collided at 6:23 a.m.

All 25 crew members aboard the Pac Baroness abandoned ship moments after the collision and were safe aboard the Atlantic Wing, which sustained bow damage above the water line, Coast Guard spokesman Brad Smith said.

"The stern (of the Pac Baroness) is awash, meaning under the water, and only about 200 feet of the forward part of the ship is sticking up out of the water," Smith said.

The cause of the collision was unknown, but "we know the weather up there is pretty poor," said Coast Guard Petty Officer Leo Kay. "It's rather foggy. . . . That probably contributed to the collision, I would think."

It was not immediately clear whether the copper-content lead cargo would pose a hazard to marine or shore life if the ship sinks.

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