Supply boat sinks off Alaska coast

Jan. 16, 2009 at 7:53 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- The seven crewmen abandoned ship Thursday in Alaska after drifting sea ice hit their supply boat, officials said.

The Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Friday that they abandoned the sinking ship Thursday. The vessel was delivering supplies to an oil platform owned by Chevron Corp.

"It was so dynamic. The ice took over the vessel from the stern. It pinned it up against the legs of the platform and then just started to collect on the deck of the boat," said Jim Butler, a lawyer and spokesman for the boat's owner, Ocean Marine Services Inc. of Kirkland, Wash.

The Daily News said the seven crew members escaped without serious injury. They stayed on the oil platform.

The captain of the supply boat Monarch made a mayday call to the Coast Guard at 5:51 a.m. to say the 166-foot vessel was taking on water.

The boat's crew was delivering supplies to the Granite Point platform on the west side of Cook Inlet near Tyonek.

The boat was carrying 35,000 to 38,000 gallons of diesel fuel, plus an unknown volume of hydraulic and lube oil, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Sara Francis said any diesel spilled from the boat should evaporate or disperse within 12 hours in the inlet's strong tides.

"It's a drop in the bucket and not a serious concern," she said.

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