Disabled Alaska tugboat, fuel barge now safely under tow

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(JUNEAU, Alaska) — The commercial tug Le Cheval Rouge crew successfully took the disabled tug Nathan E. Stewart into tow 22 nautical miles southwest of Cape Fairweather at 11:32 a.m. Monday.
The Le Cheval Rouge responded from Hawk Inlet Sunday and is towing the tug Stewart and its barge to Skagway with an anticipated arrival on Wednesday. The Coast Guard Cutter Maple, a 225-foot buoy tender, is providing a safety escort for the tow.
The tug Stewart was pushing a 287-foot barge, carrying a reported 2.2 million gallons of diesel fuel and 1,000 gallons of jet fuel on board, from Valdez to Skagway when they were inundated by heavy seas and experienced failure of the starboard engine.
“The tug crew and cargo were never in immediate danger, however, we worked closely with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, our state agencies and industry partners to ensure the continued safety of the tug crew and the maritime environment,” said Capt. Scott Bornemann, Coast Guard Sector Juneau Commander.
Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders were alerted at 12:45 p.m. Sunday that the 95-foot commercial tug had suffered an engine failure leaving the vessel with reduced power and drifting to the northwest at 2 knots.
The tug Le Cheval Rouge arrived on scene with the Stewart at 3 a.m. Monday and the Maple arrived on scene at 8 a.m. The Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa, a 110-foot patrol boat, was also diverted to assistd the disabled tug, but was later stood down after the safe arrival of the tug Le Cheval Rouge and the Maple crews.
Weather on scene is reported as winds of more than 15 mph, and 10-15 foot seas.
By Professional Mariner Staff