Ocean tug, Coast Guard assist disabled cargo ship off Alaska

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The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(DUTCH HARBOR, Alaska) — The crew of the 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.

Resolve Pioneer, a seagoing tugboat based in Dutch Harbor, arrived on scene Saturday and 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, and Resolve Pioneer made way for Washington with BBC Colorado in tow.

The Coast Guard received a call for help Oct. 5 from the master of BBC Colorado, who reported they had experienced a severe engine casualty, restricting their 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 was diverted to the scene approximately 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. Resolve Pioneer began making way toward BBC Colorado on Oct. 7.

Once within range of BBC Colorado, the Morgenthau crew launched their 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 over 24 hours until Resolve Pioneer was on scene. Morgenthau readied emergency gear, including heavy towing lines, survival equipment and increased the crew's readiness in case immediate response was necessary.

Morgenthau, home-ported in Honolulu, was on an Alaska patrol to carry out a living marine resources mission in the Bering Sea.

Resolve Pioneer and Morgenthau have trained together on emergency tows in the past. In September the two vessels conducted a training exercise near Dutch Harbor utilizing a towing system designed specifically for large cargo vessels disabled in the region.

By Professional Mariner Staff