Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tanker escort tug hits Bligh Reef

This U.S. Coast Guard press release hit my inbox at 3:29 a.m.

Dec. 24, 2009

Coast Guard responding to tug grounding in Prince William Sound

VALDEZ — Coast Guard personnel from Marine Safety Unit Valdez, Sector Anchorage and the cutter Long Island are responding to a 136-foot Crowley tug grounding on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound.

The Pathfinder crew had completed an ice survey and was heading back to its port in Valdez when the vessel struck the reef Wednesday evening. Vessel Traffic System Prince William Sound personnel received a radio call at 6:15 p.m. from Pathfinder's master via VHF radio reporting the grounding.

The Pathfinder cleared the reef and proceeded to deeper waters at about 6:50 p.m. Anchoring just south of Busby Island, the tug's six crewmembers reportedly deployed 200 feet of fuel containment booms around the vessel.

Two of the tug's centerline diesel fuel tanks were reported breached with a potential spill of 33,500 gallons. The total capacity of the vessel is approximately 127,700 gallons of diesel fuel. None of the crewmembers were reported injured.

The tugboat Invader and the oil recovery boat Valdez Star are en route to the location of the grounding to offer any possible assistance.

Two divers were transported by the landing signal craft Alaska Challenge. Divers conducted an underwater survey of the Pathfinder's hull at approximately 2:30 a.m. but have not provided a report yet. A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak H-C130 Hercules aircraft is scheduled to conduct a overflight about 10 a.m. today.

The Pathfinder is a Crowley Marine Services docking and escort tug for Trans-Alaska Pipeline System tankers. MSU Valdez is investigating the cause of the grounding.

Two tankers departing the Port of Valdez have been delayed to allow for Coast Guard and other response vessels to operate.


Anonymous said...

You have to be kidding me....same damn rock. Include in 2010 state budget for a couple cases of dynamite to deal with that obstacle. It baffles me that friggin rock is well in the &%#$ does this repeat itself?

Anonymous said...

Somebody screwed up. With modern electronics, it is impossible to hit a charted rock unless you are inattentive or incompetent.

Anonymous said...

The Gift that keeps on Giving!

The 222 Anniversary!

The Bounty set sail on December,
23rd 1787.

In April 1789 the famous mutiny took place, led by Bligh’s one-time friend, Fletcher Christian. The following is an extract taken from Bligh’s logbook. Entry for 28th April.

It reads – ‘Just before Sunrise Mr Christian and the Master at Arms… came into my cabin while I was fast asleep, and seizing me tyed my hands with a Cord & threatened instant death if I made the least noise. I however called sufficiently loud to alarm the Officers, who found themselves equally secured by centinels at their doors… Mr Christian had a Cutlass & the others were armed with Musquets & bayonets. I was now carried on deck in my Shirt in torture with a severe bandage round my wrists behind my back, where I found no man to rescue me…’

Bligh and 18 other crew members loyal to him were set adrift on April 28th in the Bounty’s launch, an open boat, 23-foot long by 6’9” wide. In most cases such an act would have led to certain death for the men aboard, but Bligh was a magnificent seaman and he sailed from Tofua, one of the Friendly Islands, landing in Timor, Java, without any loss of life on June 14th. The journey of 3618 nautical miles took them 47 days.

Your modern Skipper, on Bligh Reef, what a classic!

Anonymous said...

March 13, 1790
William Bligh returns to England and word of the mutiny on the Bounty begins to spread around the nation.

Early November 1790
The ship Pandora, commissioned to journey to the South Pacific and retrieve as many of the Bounty mutineers as possible, departs England.

March 23, 1791
The Pandora arrives at Matavai Bay, Tahiti, where a large group of mutineers remain.

April 3, 1791
The last of fourteen fugitives in Tahiti are rounded up and broad on board the Pandora.

May 8, 1791
The Pandora leaves Tahiti with the Resolution, a schooner belonging to the mutineers, in tow. For the next three months, the Pandora travels around the South Pacific in a futile search for the other party of mutineers.

August 29, 1791
The Pandora, on its way back to England, hits ground and sinks on a reef between New Guinea and Australia. The surviving men take to liveboats and begin sailing toward Coupang in the Dutch East Indies.

September 16, 1791
The survivors of the Pandora's sinking, after drinking the blood of birds and their own urine, arrive in Coupang.

October 6, 1791
Captain Edwards (formerly commander of the Pandora) and his crew and prisoners depart Coupang on a Dutch ship.

October 30, 1791
The ship carrying the captured Bounty mutineers arrives on the north coast of Java where, miraculously, the Resolution, the ship built by mutineers and which had been lost with a small crew four months earlier in stormy seas, is found.

December 25, 1791
The Dutch ship Vreendenburg leaves Batvia with 27 officers and men of the Pandora and ten surviving captured mutineers.

April 5, 1792
Captain Edwards, some of his crew, and the captured mutineers board the British man-of-war, the Gorgon, at the Cape of Good Hope for the final leg of the voyage back to England.

May 1, 1792
A prayer book (with "not a leaf of it defaced") belonging to a convict is found in the belly of a shark caught off the side of the Gorgon. [Not critical to the chronology, but interesting, don't you think?]

June 19, 1792
The Gorgon, carrying the ten men who will soon face charges of mutiny, anchors at Spithead, England.

September 12, 1792
The court-martial of ten Bounty mutineers begins on the Duke in Portsmouth, England.

September 18, 1792
Twelve post-captains return their verdicts in the Bounty court-martial. Six of the ten are convicted and sentenced to be "hanged by the neck." Mercy is recommended for two (Peter Heywood and James Morrison). Four other defendants (Morman, Coleman, McIntosh, and Byrn) are acquitted.

October 26, 1792
Heywood and Morrison learn that they have received a full and unconditional pardon from the king.

October 29, 1792
Three convicted mutineers (John Millward, Thomas Ellison, and Thomas Burkett) are hanged on the Brunswick.

According to one plausible account, Fletcher Christian is murdered by a Tahitian male while digging in his field on Pitcairn Island. (Other accounts place Christian's murder somewhat later--as late as 1797.)

February 1808
An American sealer, the Topaz, lands on mischarted Pitcairn Island. A double canoe with three young English-speaking men come to greet the ship. Pitcairn Island is discovered to be home to a colongy of 35 persons--the widows and offspring of Bounty mutineers and one surviving mutineer, Alexander Smith.

December 7, 1817
William Bligh dies at the age of 64.

Mutineer John Adams dies at age 66 on Pitcairn Island.

William Purcell, the last surviving officer of the Bounty, dies.

Mauatua, the Tahitian wife of Fletcher Christian, dies on Pitcairn Island.

Just like todays Valdez Traffic, ran by a bunch of Drunks, yesterday today and tommrow.