Bulker loses propulsion, goes adrift near Southeast Alaska

A bulk carrier lost propulsion and went adrift off Southeast Alaska before a Canadian Coast Guard emergency tugboat brought the vessel under tow roughly seven miles from land. 

Crew aboard the 739-foot Darya Shanti told authorities on July 8 that it had partially lost propulsion while underway in Canadian waters. The ship was roughly 50 miles west-southwest of Dall Island, Alaska, at the time, near the border with Canada. 

“The ship was reported as having issues with the stern tube seal and the ship crew were attempting to fix it,” Canadian Coast Guard spokeswoman Michelle Imbeau said via email. “There was also a small release of about 150 liters (40 gallons) of lubricant oil, so the main engine was shut down and the stern tube drained to prevent any further discharge into the marine environment.” 

Darya Shanti carried 76,900 tons of petroleum coke, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) said. By July 8, when it lost propulsion, the ship had more than 209,000 gallons of very low sulfur fuel oil and more than 21,000 gallons of low sulfur marine gas oil in its tanks, ADEC said.  

The U.S. Coast Guard and ADEC authorities continued to monitor the ship’s location as it drifted in the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, the vessel’s management arranged for the 133-foot rescue tugboat Seaspan Royal to arrive from Vancouver, British Columbia.

The 154-foot U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bailey Barco diverted to the ship’s location. The Canadian Coast Guard also staged the emergency towing vessel Atlantic Eagle near Langara Island, British Columbia, near Dixon Entrance. 

For two days, Darya Shanti drifted primarily to the north-northwest. By July 10, the vessel was drifting to the northeast toward Dall Island. 

“The department contacted the USCG, who followed up with the vessel agent and learned that the vessel had lost use of their engines and was using rudder to slow their drift,” said Rachel Krajewski, an ADEC environmental program manager. “At that time, the tug Seaspan Royal was still in transit to the scene and was reported to have been delayed by unfavorable weather conditions.”

Atlantic Eagle got underway around 1730 on July 10 as Darya Shanti came within 10 miles of land. The tug got the ship under tow on July 11. Its closest point of approach to shore was 6.5 nautical miles, according to Imbeau. “Atlantic Eagle continued the tow of Darya Shanti into Dixon Entrance to calmer and more sheltered waters, prior to handing off the tow to … Seaspan Royal,” she said.   

Five days later, Seaspan Royal towed the ship into the Port of Port Royal, British Columbia, for underwater inspections and troubleshooting to identify the source of the component failure. The cause of the incident, if known to Canadian authorities, has not been released. 

The six-year-old Darya Shanti is managed by Chellaram Shipping of Hong Kong. Attempts to reach the company for comment on the incident were not successful by press time.