Asphalt tanker loses power, propulsion in North Atlantic
The tanker Asphalt Sailor drifted for more than a day in the North Atlantic with limited communications after losing propulsion and electrical power roughly 200 miles off Nantucket.
The 356-foot Marshall Islands-flagged ship was sailing from New England to Philadelphia in ballast when it became disabled on July 13. There were 17 people aboard and no injuries were reported. The Netherlands coast guard alerted the U.S. Coast Guard of the incident at about 1730 that evening.
The 11-year-old ship has a controllable-pitch propeller with a shaft generator system. U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Nicole Groll said crew shut down the main engine for unknown reasons but then could not get the generator back on.
Crew from the Coast Guard cutter Rollin Fritch met Asphalt Sailor at 0530 on July 14.
“Nothing was working, so we went out there to see if there was anything we could do, but from what everything was looking like it was parts that needed to be replaced,” Groll said.
McAllister Towing of New York City dispatched the 4,500-hp tug Patrice McAllister at 2100 on July 14 to locate Asphalt Sailor about 300 miles east-southeast of New York and connect a towline.
“Patrice McAllister, skippered by Capt. Jeff Moulton, found and secured (the) tow with Asphalt Sailor some 300 miles at sea at 0100 Sunday, July 16,” McAllister spokesman Craig Rising said. “After providing the crew with much needed stores and water, (the) tow commenced to New York.”
The vessels arrived in at the GMD Shipyard at about 1300 on July 18 with assistance from the 4,000-hp Ellen McAllister under the command of docking master Kirk Pinto.
Valt Asphalt, a joint effort between Vitol Group and Sargeant Marine, operates Asphalt Sailor. The company did not respond to email messages seeking comment about the incident.
The Shaver tug Willamette assists Argent Cosmos after the loaded tanker ran aground July 6 in the Columbia River near Skamokawa, Wash.
Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
Fuel pump failure cited in Wash. tanker grounding
A loaded tanker grounded in the Columbia River near Skamokawa, Wash., after the ship’s fuel pump failed, according to the Coast Guard.
The 557-foot Argent Cosmos was carrying 6.65 million gallons of monoethylene glycol and 1.63 million gallons of ethanol when it became stuck in the soft river bottom at 0628 on July 6. It also carried more than 500,000 gallons of high- and low-sulfur fuel oil.
The Panama-flagged ship bound for China from Longview, Wash., was not damaged and there were no signs of pollution, Coast Guard spokesman Levi Read said. He declined to elaborate on the fuel pump malfunction, citing the ongoing investigation.
The Shaver Transportation tugboats Sommer S. and Willamette responded to the grounded ship. The 5,360-hp Sommer S. had assisted the ship out of the terminal about 90 minutes before the incident, while Willamette responded after finishing another job in Longview, according to Rob Rich, Shaver’s vice president of marine services.
Argent Cosmos refloated with the tide at about 1330 on July 6. The tugs escorted it first to Longview, Wash., then to Kalama, Wash., for a hull inspection. The ship left for a China early on July 9.
Official: Towboat capsized during barge brush removal
A towboat that sank in the Mississippi River near Columbus, Ky., in April reportedly capsized while trying to remove brush from a barge fleet. The accident occurred at about 1530 on April 17 at mile marker 937.
John Case, on-scene commander with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, said the 1,600-hp Todd Brown sank in Kentucky waters under a barge. According to Case’s report, the vessel “was conducting debris removal around a raft of barges when it capsized.”
The Coast Guard is investigating the accident but refused to provide details, citing the ongoing case. It’s not clear how many crew were on the vessel or how they escaped to safety.
The 40-year-old Todd Brown, operated by Ingram Barge Co., carried about 17,500 gallons of diesel and another 300 gallons of mechanical oils when it sank. An oil spill response team placed containment boom around the vessel and ultimately removed about 10,500 gallons of oily water. The vessel was raised April 26 and it was slated for repairs at an Ingram facility.
An Ingram spokeswoman declined to comment on the incident.
Fire aboard car carrier traced to recalled vehicle
A fire aboard a U.S.-flagged car carrier that caused $190 million in damage started in a personal vehicle previously recalled by the manufacturer for “non-crash-related fires,” the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.
Investigators traced the June 2015 fire aboard the 653-foot Courage to a 2002 Ford Escape parked on deck 10. That model vehicle was subject to recalls in 2007 and 2010, and over the years there were 260 cases of thermal events and non-crash-related fires in the engine compartment, according to the NTSB report.
The vehicles apparently leaked brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir cap into the automatic braking system wiring harness, leading to short circuits and electrical fires. Authorities believe the same problem started the fire on Courage.
Crew aboard the ship noticed an alarm at about 2215 on June 2, 2015, while in the North Sea sailing from Bremerhaven, Germany, to Southampton, England. The NTSB said the chief engineer released the onboard CO2 system, which extinguished the fire.
Investigators praised the crew’s response, describing the firefighting effort as “timely and appropriate.” For instance, upon seeing peeling paint on the weather decks, the fire team backed away and began boundary cooling. Crew also did not try to enter the compartment after the fire was out, which could have reignited the blaze.
Courage, operated by American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier Group, anchored offshore at Southampton at about 1100 on June 3 and later that night tied up at the pier. The ship sustained $100 million in damage and was scrapped, according to the NTSB. Another $90 million in vehicles and other cargoes were lost.