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News / Business / Clark County Business

River pilots keep ships rolling on the Columbia

Columbia River Pilots president explains job’s challenges, importance to region

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 26, 2024, 6:06am
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Oceangoing ships prepare to dock at the Port of Vancouver. Around 7 million metric tons of cargo moved through the port in 2022. Infrastructure hasn&rsquo;t kept up with the growing size of ships coming up and down the river.
Oceangoing ships prepare to dock at the Port of Vancouver. Around 7 million metric tons of cargo moved through the port in 2022. Infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the growing size of ships coming up and down the river. (Contributed by Port of Vancouver) Photo Gallery

Maritime safety isn’t something most people thought much about before a massive cargo ship smashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Md., and killed six people one month ago.

But Columbia River pilots think about safety daily as they navigate ships — sometimes up to 1,200 feet long — around bends and under bridges.

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