Tanker Incident Raises Concerns

Friday, February 10, 2006
Concerns about pollution from disabled tankers anchored in Kachemak Bay is generating pressure for greater tanker safety measures in Cook Inlet after a cracked oil tanker, the Seabulk Pride, was escorted here by a tug, the Pacific Challenger, from the upper inlet. The 601-foot Seabulk Pride was ripped from its loading dock in Nikiski in extreme ice and tide conditions and then rescued from where it had grounded on a beach a half mile north of the dock. The accident occurred just days after the Coast Guard issued “Extreme Ice Rules” for vessels traveling through upper Cook Inlet. Under the rules, if the Seabulk Pride had been pushing ice, it could not have docked. There were 24 people on board when the tanker broke loose, including two marine pilots, and no injuries were reported. Two barrels of fuel spilled from fuel loading hoses when the tanker broke away from its dock, but no further leakages were reported. Initial inspections of the double-hull tanker revealed no damage. More thorough inspections conducted by divers in Kachemak Bay over the weekend revealed cracks 7 inches and 4 inches long on the Seabulk Pride’s outer hull. The cracks likely were created by an object, such as a boulder, rather than stress from resting on the beach without water and have not raised concerns about product leaking. Divers also found and removed a wire mooring line wrapped around a propeller shaft. (Source: Homer News Online)
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