Saving The Cargo Ship Golden Seas
By James Donahue
Strange weather patterns and unexpected storms around the world are having an effect on numerous ships at sea, as noticed
in world news reports. Among the dramatic rescue stories was that of the cargo ship Golden Seas, laden with canola oil, fuel
oil and diesel fuel, lost power in the Bearing Sea off the Alaskan Coast and nearly drifted into the rocks on the Aleutian
Island of Atka.
The 738-foot Greek owned freighter was bound from Vancouver to the United Arab Emirates on December 3, 2010, when the
turbocharger on the ship’s single-propulsion engine failed. The crew said the engine could still turn the ship’s
propeller, but lacked the power to make headway against the high seas.
The ship, carrying more than 450,000 gallons of fuel oil and 11,748 gallons of diesel fuel, drifted for about 12 hours
before the storm abated and help arrived. A Coast Guard helicopter hovered over the vessel in case the rescue of the 20 crew
members was needed. In the meantime, the Golden Seas rolled in 30-foot waves and drifted within 12 miles of shore.
The worry was that if the Golden Seas hit the rocks off Atka and broke up, the resulting oil spill would have threatened
Korovin Bay, part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Endangered species in that refuge include eiders and sea
lions, northern sea otters and numerous species of birds.
The rescue tug Tor Viking II and Coast Guard Cutters Alex Haley and Spar were dispatched from Dutch Harbor and Kodiak.
They traveled an estimated 500 miles before they reached the disabled freighter.
The tug managed to secure a line to the stranded ship and then pulled it against a continuing barrage of high seas
and winds to Dutch Harbor where the vessel underwent repairs. It was a happy ending to a possible serious event in a dangerous