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NORTH PACIFIC 24 July - Twenty-three seafarers remain aboard the Singapore-flagged car carrier Cougar Ace as it continues to take on water and list heavily in the Bering Sea off the Aleutians. The US Coast Guard has told Fairplay that a C-130 aircraft arrived on scene at 1405 GMT and is overflying the distressed Mitsui OSK vessel while a distant USCG cutter and the bulker Ikan Juara rush to the area to assist. At present, only one crewmember has sustained injuries – a broken leg – and none is able to abandon ship as half of the lifeboats are underwater and the others are hanging too high because of the list, reported at 80 degrees. Coast Guard sources at the Juneau command centre say the vessel has re-established power, but is unable to make way because of the severe list. The 5,542-vehicle car carrier is located 230n-miles south of the Aleutian Island chain and the USCG says sea and wind conditions have been reported as generally calm with water temperatures in the general area said to be around 11 degrees Celsius. A Panama-flagged 32,600-dwt bulker was asked to assist under the AMVER (Atlantic Merchant Vessel Emergency Reporting) programme as it is nearest the scene and is expected to reach the vessel around daybreak – local time.
 

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This must be a terrifying experience for all onboard. Unable even to abandon ship.
I wish them all the best an hope they survive.
Hawkey01
 

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My heart goes out to these guys. had a small trawler sink under me once. not a nice situation to be in.
Hope they all make it home.
 

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billyboy said:
My heart goes out to these guys. had a small trawler sink under me once. not a nice situation to be in.
Hope they all make it home.
CNN reported at 0400 gmt July 25th. that the U.S.C.G. had managed to air drop a couple of life rafts.
Here's hoping for a successful result.
 

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Rescue begins for 22 sailors on listing ship

From Toronto Globe & Mail 0627 GMT July 25

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — Rescuers from the U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska Air National Guard began late Monday trying to save 22 crew members from an Asian cargo ship taking on water south of the Aleutian Islands, officials said.

“The first helicopter is on the scene, and starting hoist operations,” said Alaska National Guard spokesman Major Mike Haller.

The 215-metre Cougar Ace, which was carrying nearly 5,000 cars from Japan to Canada, had rolled practically onto its side.

The plan, Maj. Haller said, was to deliver all crew members to Adak Island, 370 kilometres away in the Aleutians.
Related to this article
Photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard shows the Singapore flagged vessel Cougar Ace disabled and listing to its port side about 370 kilometres south of the Aleutian Islands off the Alaskan coast on Monday. Petty Officer Joseph Zemchak/U.S. Coast Guard/AP

Photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard shows the Singapore flagged vessel Cougar Ace disabled and listing to its port side about 370 kilometres south of the Aleutian Islands off the Alaskan coast on Monday.

“We will try to pick up all of them, if they can, if not, at least most of them,” he said. If not all can be taken to Adak, the remainder will be transferred to a nearby merchant marine ship.

A Coast Guard helicopter, two Pave Hawk helicopters, two refuelling planes and a C-130 plane left from an Air National Guard base in Anchorage to take part in the rescue.

Earlier Monday, a Coast Guard plane dropped three life rafts, but roiling Pacific waters shoved the rafts underneath the ship.

Rescuers then dropped an additional raft, but the crew members had taken refuge on the high side of the tilted vessel and the raft was 50 metres below, beyond their reach. The crew were wearing survival suits, officials said.

A merchant marine ship reached the vessel Monday morning. Its crew tried, but failed, to rig a line to the Cougar Ace to keep it from tilting further.
 

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A happy ending...

From CTV -

Sinking cargo ship's crew successfully rescued

ANCHORAGE -- Rescuers from the U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska Air National Guard saved 23 crew members from an Asian cargo ship taking on water south of the Aleutian Islands, officials said.

"People are out of harm's way, they are rescued and they are safe,'' said Alaska National Guard spokesman Maj. Mike Haller late Monday.

All 23 crew members were hoisted into two National Guard Pave Hawk helicopters and a Coast Guard helicopter and taken to Adak Island in the Aleutians, 370 kilometres to the north of the Cougar Ace.

The rescue was conducted in "very challenging weather,'' said Master Sgt. Sal Provenzano with the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center. There were three-metre seas whipping the ship, which was listed nearly on its side.

A nearby merchant marine vessel was standing by to take any crew member who couldn't fit on the three helicopters, but the thought of conducting another 23 hoist operations to lower the crew members on the ship in that weather was deemed not the best choice.

"We made the decision to cram in everybody,'' Provenzano said.

One crew member with a broken ankle was to be flown by an HC130 to Anchorage immediately after landing in Adak, Provenzano said.

It was not immediately known how long the other crew members, who all donned survival suits when the ship started taking on water, would remain on Adak Island.


Rushie
 

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Rushie,
so glad to read the report of the safe retrieval of the crew. Seeing that picture of her nearly on her side makes it a pretty fantastic rescue. Especially as there appears to have been only one broken bone.
I salute them.
Regards
Hawkey01 (Applause)
 

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Car Carrier in Trouble in the Beering Sea

Amazing that she is actually still floating, even almost 100% on her side.
I guess the crew must have had time to secure all the external openings, which I suppose are pretty few taking into consideration her great size.
All the vehicles must also be pretty secure in that they have not smashed their way around.
Could not some of the air that must be inside her great bulk also be keeping her afloat?
I ask these questions in all sincerity, as I am not a technical person and have not been to sea.
David D..
 

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LEEJ said:
Nobody has asked the question - How did she come to be like that?
Information on www.cargolaw.com has a Mitsui spokesman stating "There clearly was an inbalance in the intake of ballast water" - obviously the P.C way of saying "Somebody screwed up with their stability calculations". Captain has confirmed that ballasting was in progress.
 

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Having had the doubtful pleasure of being on the Joule when, of her own accord, she decided to open the hydraulic ballast valves and transfer water-ballast from Port to Starboard without any human intervention, I am minded to sympathise rather than criticise. No doubt once the facts are known it will be easier to comment, but given the size of the claim (usd75.0m ?) maybe there will be a certain amount of clouding the issue as the relevant parties seek to alter the facts in favour of their respective clients….. Oh the unrestrained joy of having The Hague Rules to rely upon when all else fails (*))
 

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Courtesy of Fairplay:

Daily News
31 Jul 2006

Cougar Ace 'stable'



JUNEAU 31 July – MOL, the US Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation have set up a joint operations centre to deal with the badly listing and helplessly drifting car carrier Cougar Ace, loaded with 4,813 vehicles, mostly Mazdas. At last report the vessel, listing at about 60 degrees, was stable and drifting slowly in an easterly direction at one to two kt. MOL has despatched a team of specialists to the site to examine methods of securing the ship's cargo and righting the 199m long vessel. In addition to the Coast Guard vessel already at the site, Crowley Marine’s tug Sea Victory; Foss Maritime tug Emma Foss and Magone Marine’s Makushin Bay are en route to the scene were expected to arrive by today. Mitsui president Akimitsu Ashida said in a written statement on Friday: "MOL continues to investigate the cause of the vessel listing by interviewing crew members … probable cause of the listing has been identified as instability which occurred during the ballast adjustment process." Asida added that it appeared that too much water was released from the tanks as the ship rolled on an ocean swell. Spokesman Hidenori Onuki has added that due to a change of wind direction, there is no risk of the vessel drifting closer to the Aleutians and that no bunker fuel has leaked from the ship so far. MOL says it is still considered too dangerous to place seamen back on the ship. The Cougar Ace was bound for Fraser Surrey Docks, Vancouver, and then to Tacoma, Washington state
 

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Tonga said:
Courtesy of Fairplay:

Daily News
31 Jul 2006

Cougar Ace 'stable'

Mitsui president Akimitsu Ashida said in a written statement on Friday: "MOL continues to investigate the cause of the vessel listing by interviewing crew members … probable cause of the listing has been identified as instability which occurred during the ballast adjustment process." Asida added that it appeared that too much water was released from the tanks as the ship rolled on an ocean swell.

Never sailed on one of these floating parking lots but am I missing something here? Other than taking in a slight amount of water ballast to compensate for fuel and potable water consumed, why would they be de-ballasting in mid-ocean and does anyone know what the GM is on a car carrier?
 

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they would be changing the ballast water before berthing in canada or the usa we had to do this on ships i was on because of the high mercury content in the waters round japan regards kev.
 

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dom

one member of the inspection team to-day lost his life after falling on board and hitting his head.
 
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