Tugboat gashes docked tanker in Valdez; crewman injured


(VALDEZ, Alaska) — A tugboat struck the Polar Endeavour oil tanker shortly before midnight on Jan. 11 at the Valdez Marine Terminal, gashing the hull of the ship and injuring one crewmember on the tugboat, the Anchorage Daily News reported. No oil spilled in the accident, which is under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The accident occurred as the tugboat Courageous approached Polar Endeavour, which was stationary at the dock. The tanker was loaded with oil and was prepared to leave with the help of tugs, officials said.

Alyeska Pipeline photo

Brooke Taylor with the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, mandated by Congress to help prevent a repeat of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, said Courageous had “run away,” meaning it was out of control before striking Endeavour.

Ballast that leaked from the tanker into Prince William Sound did not contain oil, said Michelle Egan, an Alyeska Pipeline spokeswoman.

Egan said the injured tug crewman saw a medic on the boat and was later taken to a clinic to see a doctor and to have an X-ray. She could not confirm additional details about his condition.

Officials with Louisiana-based Edison Chouest, the tug’s owner, did not return requests for comment Tuesday.

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By Professional Mariner Staff