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Wednesday, March 11, 1992 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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2 Killed In Explosion On Ship -- Blast Off Grays Harbor

Two crew members of a seismic-research vessel were killed this morning when a small explosive charge detonated on deck about 20 miles from Grays Harbor in the Pacific Ocean.

The identity of those killed and their hometowns were not immediately available from the Coast Guard at Westport, Grays Harbor County.

The 265-foot research vessel Amy Chouest was conducting seismic studies, which involve the use of submerged explosives, when the explosion occurred on deck at about 10:15 a.m., said Coast Guard Chief Cliff Kaldor.

There were conflicting reports from Navy sources as to whether the ship was conducting research for the Navy.

The Navy guided-missile cruiser Lake Champlain was on the scene aiding the Amy Chouest, along with a Coast Guard helicopter from Astoria, Ore., and several Coast Guard surface vessels.

The operating owner of the vessel is Edison Chouest Offshore Inc. of Galliano, La., said Edison spokesperson Mark Gisclair. The company had 16 crew members on board but none was injured, Gisclair said.

The Amy Chouest was chartered by the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, said lab spokesperson John Wilhelm. One person associated with the laboratory was aboard the ship but was not injured, said Ed Cochrane, assistant to the director.

Reports from the ship indicated that no one else was injured. "They said it was not major damage and that they were able to hold the ship in its position" 13 miles due west of Willapa Bay, Kaldor said.

Kaldor said crew members aboard the Amy Chouest indicated the explosive charge was quite small, possibly on the order of a pound or two, and that only one charge detonated.

Copyright (c) 1992 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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