By Mark Edward Nero
A 528-foot dry dock sank offshore late last month, about 40 miles west of San Francisco, while being towed from Seattle to Mexico.
Personnel aboard Ocean Ranger, a 117-foot tug owned and operated by Seattle-based Western Towboat Co., initially contacted Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watch standers the afternoon of Oct. 25, reporting that the dry dock it was towing was taking on water while in transit.
US Coast Guard watch standers began an hourly communication schedule with the Ocean Ranger crew to monitor the status of the tow and dispatched a Coast Guard Air Station San Francisco helicopter to visually assess the situation. The air crew confirmed the dry dock was listing.
Ocean Ranger’s crew proceeded west but eventually had to detach from the dry dock, which reportedly sank about 40 miles offshore around 2 a.m. Oct. 26 in about 3,000 feet of water.
A Coast Guard overflight by a Dolphin helicopter crew was unable to locate the dry dock later that morning.
There were no injuries reported, and fuels and hazardous materials were removed from the dry dock prior to its departure from Seattle, the Coast Guard has said.
The circumstances surrounding the dry-dock sinking, according to the Coast Guard, remain under investigation.