The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(KODIAK, Alaska) — The Coast Guard is responding to a report of the motor vessel Morning Cedar disabled northeast of Tanaga Island 1,230 miles southwest of Anchorage Monday.
At 8:29 a.m. the master of the 650-foot vessel notified the Coast Guard that they had suffered a steering casualty and the rudder was stuck hard to starboard. The crew was unable to repair a hydraulic leak that is limiting the steering system. The vessel has propulsion and the use of their bow thrusters and are currently nine miles northeast of Tanaga Island and drifting out to sea. There are 23 people aboard the Singapore-flagged ship and it is carrying a load of packaged timber. No injuries or pollution have been reported.
The Coast Guard launched an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules airplane to be ready to deliver an emergency towing system from Adak and conduct rescues as a precaution. The Coast Guard Cutter Sherman has also been diverted from a patrol near Unalaska to the Morning Cedar’s location. The Sherman has an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aboard capable of conducting search and rescue operations.
“We are pre-positioning aircraft so we can be close to the vessel if it starts drifting toward land,” said Capt. Daniel Travers, Coast Guard District 17 chief of incident management. “Safety of life at sea is our highest priority and by planning ahead we can reduce any risk to the crewmen aboard the vessel and to the environment.”
The owner of the vessel is working to arrange commercial assistance for the Morning Cedar. Weather in the area is reportedly 46 mph winds with 12 to 15 foot seas, swells of 9 to 12 feet and rain. The winds are expected to shift south by tonight.