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Tug goes aground in Alaska, 5 rescued

Nov. 15, 2012 at 4:31 PM

KODIAK, Alaska, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Five tugboat crewmen were rescued after their boat, and a barge it was escorting, ran aground on an uninhabited Alaska island, officials said.

The 78-foot tugboat Polar Wind, in rough seas off the Alaskan Peninsula, sent out a distress call Tuesday evening, reporting it had run aground on Kiln Island and was taking on water, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The boat was escorting a barge laden with 90 cargo containers, 30 of which contained frozen seafood, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Thursday.

Coast Guard helicopters rescued the crew.

Diesel fuel was aboard the tug boat and the barge, but no leaks have been observed, said Steve Russell, on-scene spill coordinator for the Alaska Department of Conservation, noting the two craft are stuck between a steep bluff and the sea.

If there is no fuel spill, the state's priority will shift to the security of the frozen seafood aboard the barge. State inspectors will verify if the seafood is safe to sell, assuming the barge's refrigeration equipment stayed on, Russell said.

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