On February 16, the 30 meter long tugboat Samson Mariner and 322 foot long barge Saint Elias off Gravina Island on Rosa Reef near Ketchikan, Alaska. The vessels were proceeding to Valdez via the Inside Passage in calm seas when the vessels ran aground on the northeast end of Gravina Island. The Samson Mariner sustained hull damage with a 2 inch gash in the hull rupturing the port fuel tank. Some 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel was released into the water before the crew was able to plug the leak. Authorities were alerted and arrived on scene placing a containment boom around the tug. The Samson Mariner and the Saint Elias were later refloated and towed to Ward Cove.
Reports state there were no injuries and no damage to the Saint Elias which had some 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time of the incident. The Coast Guard and Alaskan authorities continued to monitor the situation while contractors attempt to recover the released fuel using booms and absorbent pads. The cause of the grounding was not reported. The Saint Elias had run aground before in 2011 off the San Juan Islands, Washington.
On February 11, the 98 foot long fishing vessel Destination was reported missing and presumed lost in the Bering Sea northwest of St. George Island, Alaska. The Coast Guard received an automated EPIRB signal (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) from the fishing vessel around 7:15 a.m. Saturday morning.
The Coast Guard dispatched helicopters and directed two nearby vessels to search for the Destination. Citizens on St. George Island began searching the shoreline for possible survivors or any signs of the fishing vessel.
By 10 a.m. the beacon was found in a debris field that included a buoy and life ring that had the fishing vessel’s name on it. An oil sheen was visible in the water indicating the vessel may have foundered in the vicinity.
Conditions were reported to be typical in the area with snow showers, waves reaching 2 to 3 meters and winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour.
The Coast Guard confirmed there were six crew on board the Destination when the vessel departed from Seattle.
A Coast Guard cutter from Dutch Harbor was dispatched and expected to be on site to aid in the search and rescue efforts.
The 108 meter long, 5404 dwt tanker Sagan ran aground in the East China Sea off Suwanose Island, Kagoshima, Japan. The tanker was headed to Japan from Taiwan when it blown ashore by strong winds and heavy seas. The hull was breached on the rocky shoreline. The Sagan’s fuel tanks were ruptured and released fuel oil into the sea. A large spill formed around the western side of the island. The pollution was being being dispersed by rough seas.
The crew alerted authorities and requested assistance. The Japan Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter to the scene and hoisted all 18 crew to safety. No reports of injuries.