Tow ves­sel reaches strug­gling ship in Ber­ing Sea

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

AN­CHOR­AGE: A tug boat pulled a strug­gling cargo ship car­ry­ing half a mil­lion gal­lons of fuel to­ward a safe har­bor Satur­day night, greatly eas­ing con­cerns the ves­sel could go aground in Alaska's re­mote Aleu­tian Is­lands.

The com­mer­cial tug be­gan its tow of the 738-foot Golden Seas with 20 crew mem­bers aboard af­ter they ren­dezvoused a few hours ear­lier in the Ber­ing Sea, about 45 miles north of Atka Is­land.

Early Mon­day, the 18,000horse­power Tor Vik­ing II and the Golden Seas are ex­pected to reach Dutch Har­bor, 275 miles away, Coast Guard Chief Petty Of­fi­cer Dana Warr told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

He said the ves­sels were deal­ing with 20-foot waves but con­di­tions were ex­pected to im­prove over the next 24 hours.

The Coast Guard said fears that the ship would run aground had eased and it was in no im­me­di­ate dan­ger. There were no re­ports of in­jury among the crew of ei­ther ves­sel.

A Coast Guard cut­ter was en route to likely es­cort the ves­sels to Dutch Har­bor, where the Golden Seas will un­dergo re­pairs.

The ship, with a full load of canola seed, suf­fered en­gine trou­bles in strong winds and rough seas Fri­day that caused it to drift to­ward Atka Is­land, about 1,300 miles south­west of An­chor­age. The weather eased dur­ing the night and with limited en­gine power, the ship was able to travel at about 3 to 4 mph away from land.

Re­spon­ders said the ves­sel, which is man­aged by Allseas Ma­rine, based in Athens, Greece, lost its turbo charger. That left it with­out enough power to over­come 29-foot seas and winds blow­ing at 45 mph.

Petty Of­fi­cer David Mosley said the Liberia-flagged ship is car­ry­ing more than 457,500 gal­lons of fuel oil, nearly 12,000 gal­lons of diesel fuel and 10,000 gal­lons of lube oil.

The ship is en route from Van­cou­ver, Canada, to the United Arab Emi­rates, the Coast Guard said.

The Golden Seas is the lat­est ex­am­ple of the chal­lenges in­volved in re­spond­ing to in­ci­dents in the re­mote re­gion, said Whit Sheard, an Oceana at­tor­ney who sits on the Aleu­tian Is­land Risk As­sess­ment Ad­vi­sory Panel, es­tab­lished with crim­i­nal set­tle­ment funds from the ground­ing of the Se­len­dang Ayu six years ago.

The ship, the same size of the Golden Seas, ran aground Dec. 8, 2004, and broke apart on the north side of Unalaska Is­land, also in the Aleu­tians. About 66,000 tons of soy­beans were lost. Dur­ing res­cue op­er­a­tions, a rogue wave crashed into a Coast Guard heli­copter lift­ing Se­len­dang Ayu crew mem­bers from the freighter, and the air­craft crashed. Six of the 10 freighter crew mem­bers were killed. -Ap

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