Disabled Tanker off Florida Coast

Friday, December 13, 2002
Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Miami is monitoring the progress of the Isarstern, a 529-ft. tanker disabled and adrift off the coast of Marathon, Fla. The Isle of Man-flagged ship was en route Houston from Quebec, Canada when it suffered an engine casualty about 13 miles off Florida around 2 a.m. The ship has lowered its anchor to both slow its rate of drift and anchor if it drifts into shallow waters. The vessel is currently 5 miles south of Sombrero Light and 2 miles outside of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It is slowly drifting east-northeast, parallel to the FKNMS boundary, presenting no immediate threat to the sanctuary. A commercial salvage vessel from Tampa, Fla., is on its way to rendezvous with the tanker and is expected to arrive around 7 a.m. tomorrow. Meanwhile, the ship's crew is trying to repair the engine on its own. An officer from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Marathon is on board the vessel to monitor the situation. "The Coast Guard is keenly sensitive to the importance of the marine environment and the Florida Keys sanctuary," said Lt. Tony Russell, Coast Guard Seventh District Public Affairs Officer. "We are proactively working to ensure this situation presents no environmental threats." The Isarstern is a double-hulled tanker and currently not loaded with cargo but is carrying 90,000 gallons of marine diesel and approximately 20,000 gallons of lube oil.

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