December 5, 2010 in Nation/World

Towing vessel reaches scene of ship in distress

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

The 738-foot tanker Golden Seas suffered engine trouble Friday in the Bering Sea, north of Adak Island, Alaska.
(Full-size photo)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A powerful towing vessel reached a struggling cargo ship Saturday evening that was carrying half a million gallons of fuel in the remote reaches of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, the Coast Guard said.

The two vessels met about 45 miles north of Atka Island in the Bering Sea, said Petty Officer David Mosley.

Operations were under way to set up the tow so the crippled 738-foot Golden Seas could be brought safely into Dutch Harbor, about 275 miles away.

There was no immediate danger of the ship running aground, Mosley said.

The cargo 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.

Plans called for the 18,000-horsepower Tor Viking II to tow the Golden Seas to port at Dutch Harbor by tonight or Monday morning. It was expected to undergo repairs there.

Responders said the vessel lost its turbo charger, which left it without enough power to overcome 29-foot seas and winds blowing at 45 mph.

The ship was en route from Vancouver, B.C., to the United Arab Emirates, the Coast Guard said.

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