Responders head to disabled ship in Bering Sea

December 4, 2010 23:51
1 minute read.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Emergency vessels hurried to reach a cargo ship carrying nearly half a million gallons (1.9 million liters) of fuel as it struggled off Alaska's remote Aleutian Islands for a second day Saturday.

The 738-foot (225-meter) Golden Seas, with a full load of canola seed, suffered engine trouble in strong winds and rough seas Friday that caused it to drift toward Atka Island, about 1,300 miles (2,100 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage. During the night, after the weather eased, it motored at about 3 to 4 mph (4.8 to 6.4 kph) back out to sea. By Saturday morning it was about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from land, reducing fears it would run aground, said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Dana Warr.A powerful commercial tug was expected to arrive Saturday afternoon, he said. Strong winds continued, with 20- to 25-foot (6- to 7.5-meter) seas, but calmer weather appeared to be moving in. A Coast Guard cutter was also on the way.

"Everything is going well," Warr said. "We have rescue crews remaining in place in Dutch Harbor. The weather predictions seem to be diminishing."

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 (9-meter) seas and winds blowing at 45 mph (72 kph).

Petty Officer David Mosley said the Liberia-flagged ship is carrying more than 457,500 gallons (1.73 million liters) of fuel oil, nearly 12,000 gallons (45,400 liters) of diesel fuel and 10,000 gallons (38,000 liters) of lube oil.

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