ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Emergency vessels rushed Saturday toward a struggling cargo ship carrying thousands of litres of fuel oil that had been drifting near the far reaches of Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands, but began moving on limited power, officials said.
Engine problems caused the 225-metre Golden Seas, with a full load of canola seed, to drift in strong winds and rough waters in the Bering Sea early Friday, sparking concern it might run aground on an island. The ship is en route from Vancouver to the United Arab Emirates.
The ship was 45 kilometres north of Atka when improved weather allowed it to begin moving away from shore at about six kilometres an hour late Friday afternoon, according to the coast guard and other responders.
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 rough seas and winds blowing at 72 km/h. Conditions calmed later in the day, allowing the ship’s limited power to potentially avoid running aground before the vessels arrive.
“That buys us some time,” Coast Guard Capt. Jason Fosdick said Friday.
A coast guard C-130 aircraft flew over the Golden Seas and confirmed it was under way and moving away from land, Petty Officer David Mosley said.
Mosley said the Liberia-flagged ship is carrying more than 1.7 million litres of fuel oil, 45,000 litres of diesel fuel and 38,000 litres of lube oil.
There were no reports of injuries among the 20 crew members on board.