Engine-Room Fire Disables Tanker, Kills One Crewman

U.S. Coast Guard air and cutter forces continue to assist the 22-person crew of a 485-foot, Tokyo Marine’s chemical tanker Pine Galaxy after a fire in the main engine-room disabled the vessel, leaving it without propulsion, about 700 miles west of Cape Blanco, Oregon, Wednesday, August 13.

The fire was extinguished using installed fire fighting systems, however, the ship sustained damage to its generators, leaving the crew with minimal battery power.

A Coast Guard aircrew, aboard an HC-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Sacramento, California, delivered two iridium telephones and a VHF-FM radio to the ship, Thursday, August 14.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton, a 418-foot National Security Cutter homeported in Alameda, California, is on scene to provide assistance, including engineering and damage control equipment.

One crew member aboard the tanker was reported as deceased as a result of the marine casualty.

Coast Guard watchstanders at the 13th District Rescue Coordination Center, in Seattle, used the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System to contact nearby vessels. AMVER vessels have been providing ongoing visual assessments of the vessel’s condition.

“The AMVER vessels involved were instrumental in providing check-ins with the disabled vessel and providing updates to rescue personnel about the condition of the crew and vessel’s position,” said Lt. Ryan Beck, command duty officer at the 13th District Rescue Coordination Center. “AMVER vessels are an invaluable high-seas resource for rescue coordinators.”

The vessel’s owner has contracted the commercial tugboat Millennium Falcon, based in Anacortes. The tugboat is expected to arrive at the tanker’s location on Monday, August 18, with a damage control technical specialist.