Anchors Break Free of Two Oil Tankers

Friday, January 12, 2007
Two of BP's new double-hulled oil tankers are sitting idle off Washington state after each lost an anchor while sailing through rough North Pacific waters, company and Coast Guard officials said Thursday. An investigation into how the anchors got away revealed "material defects" in the enormous steel claws, said Anil Mathur, president of Alaska Tanker Co., a Beaverton, Ore., company that hauls North Slope crude oil for BP. Each anchor weighs 16 tons, stands more than 13 feet tall, and hangs at the bow of one of the identical 941-foot ships. One ship, the Alaskan Navigator, discovered an anchor missing on Dec. 26 and the Alaskan Frontier lost one Dec. 23, Mathur said. The tankers were hauling crude through rough seas to West Coast refineries when they lost the anchors, Mathur said. The bodies of the anchors were cracked and that caused them to break off, he said. It wasn't a matter of the anchor chain or coupling breaking. The two ships are among four new double-hulled tankers BP had built for $250 million each. The first of the tankers -- built by National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. of San Diego -- began work in the summer of 2004. The lost anchors are the second glitch to hit the new fleet. In 2005, two of the tankers -- including the Alaskan Frontier -- were laid up for a time because of large cracks in their rudders. The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the lost anchors. Source: Anchorage Daily News

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