Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cargo Ship Rescued Off Alaska Coast

By Mark Edward Nero

The crew of the US Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau assisted in the rescue and safe transit of a 400-foot cargo vessel with 12 people aboard during a multiple-day operation in the Gulf of Alaska recently.

The Coast Guard says that on Oct. 5, it received a call for help from the master of BBC Colorado, who reported the vessel had experienced a severe engine casualty that restricted its speed and maneuverability. With forecasted seas of 30 feet and winds in excess of 50 knots closing in on its location, Colorado requested the Coast Guard’s assistance.

Morgenthau, home-ported in Honolulu, was on an Alaska patrol to carry out a living marine resources mission in the Bering Sea. It was diverted to the BBC Colorado about 500 miles away.

While en route, Morgenthau’s onboard command center worked jointly with the 17th District Command Center in Juneau to create a rescue assistance plan for Colorado. The Coast Guard issued a marine assistance request, resulting in the response from Resolve Pioneer, a seagoing tugboat based in Dutch Harbor. Resolve Pioneer began making way toward BBC Colorado on Oct. 7.

Once within range of BBC Colorado, the Morgenthau crew launched an embarked helicopter to evaluate the condition of BBC Colorado, capture images of the vessel to better assist the towing evolution and make radio contact with the master.

Morgenthau then maintained a constant presence with the Colorado for more than 24 hours until Resolve Pioneer arrived on scene Oct. 8. Morgenthau readied emergency gear, including heavy towing lines, survival equipment and readied the crew in case immediate response was necessary.

Resolve Pioneer set up tow with the motor vessel BBC Colorado under the observation of Morgenthau. Upon confirmation that the tow was holding and intact, Morgenthau crew resumed their mission of fisheries enforcement in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea as Resolve Pioneer made way for Washington with BBC Colorado in tow. No injuries were reported during the incident.

BBC Colorado, a general cargo ship built in 2008 and currently sailing under the flag of Antigua & Barbuda, has a length of 131 meters (429.8 feet) and beam of 21 meters (68.8 feet), as well as a gross weight of 9,618 tons.