Selendang Ayu Aground, Broken in Half

Friday, December 10, 2004
The motor vessel Selendang Ayu, a 738-foot freighter has run aground and broken in two on the northern shore of Unalaska Island in the Aleutian Island Chain. In addition a Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Kodiak crashed last night while evacuating the remaining eight crew members from the Selendang Ayu.

The vessel ran aground more than 40-hours after the ship's main engine broke down causing it to drift in high winds and heavy seas. The Coast Guard has rescued 20 of the Selendang Ayu's 26 crewmen.

The three Coast Guard crewmen from the Jayhawk and two persons who remained aboard the stricken vessel after the helicopter crashed are safe. Six crewmen from the Selendang Ayu still remain missing. The Coast Guard was able to evacuate 20 of the ship's 26 crewmen at approximately 2:30 p.m. Alaska Standard Time.

The Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley and the tug Sydney Foss remained on scene through the night to monitor the wreck of the Selendang Ayu and search for the missing crewmen.

The Coast Guard plans to continue the search by air at first light using helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft to the scene to relieve the Kodiak based AH from command and control. The CGC Sherman, a 378 foot high endurance cutter from Alameda, CA is headed to the scene.

The Coast Guard has deployed the Cordova based cutter Sycamore to also assist at the scene to respond to the anticipated oil spill from the ship's propulsion fuel.

There have been no reports of pollution from the Selendang Ayu but any oil spilled will become visible at first light.

The Selendang Ayu was transporting a shipment of soy beans from Tacoma, WA to a port in China.

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