The 738-foot freighter Golden Seas was reported adrift after its main engine stalled shortly before dawn 70 miles north of Adak.
Two MH-60 helicopters were ordered to the scene along with the cutters Spar and Alex Haley. Gale warnings were in effect around Adak with 50 mph winds and 29-foot seas predicted, the Coast Guard said in a written statement.
The Liberian-flagged Golden Seas has 20 people aboard and a cargo of canola seeds, fuel oil and diesel fuel. The ship's point of origin and destination were not reported.