Crews Actions to Avoid Catastrophe in San Francisco Bay

Mike Schuler
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January 29, 2009

Images via Flickr user duncandavidson

Tuesday evening, the tanker Overseas Cleliamar lost all power while exiting San Francisco Bay just west of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The 741-ft tanker, on its way to its next port of call in Ecuador, was carrying no cargo at the time of the incident.  Despite initial conflicting reports, the tanker did not hit any rocks and credit is being given to the quick actions of the pilot and crew for preventing any major catastrophe.  The San Francisco Chronicle has the dramatic details:

Capt. Dave McCloy, a bar pilot for about a year, had just minutes to stop the tanker from crashing into the steep rockbound cliffs of the Marin Headlands just outside the Golden Gate.

McCloy had just ordered the ship’s helm put slightly to the right. So when the Overseas Cleliamar lost power, it was headed for the rocks.

McCloy acted fast. He directed the crew of the tanker to lower the starboard anchor, one of two massive anchors carried on the bow. He had the anchor lowered only partially, so that it would take hold in shallower water close to the shore.
The water in the strait is too deep for ships to anchor, and the shoreline drops off steeply on the Marin side, so there is little shallow water close to shore. The ship had to come very close to rocky Point Diablo before the anchor took hold and stopped the ship.

But McCloy had little choice: Without power or steering, anchoring close to shore was his only option. READ FULL ARTICLE

Within 10 minutes, all power was restored and no signs of pollution have been reported.  Partially blocked fuel lines have been since blamed for loss of power.

KUDOS to the pilot and crew!

Click HERE for the press release issued by the USCG.

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