Fatality Reported As Engine Room Fire Disables Tanker Off Oregon

A 485-foot chemical tanker is adrift several hundred miles off the coast of Oregon following an engine room fire that reportedly killed one crewmember.

A statement late Friday from the U.S. Coast Guard said air and cutter forces continue to assist the 22-person crew of a Bahamian-flagged tanker that has been disabled since Wednesday when a fire broke out in the main engine room of the vessel while underway about 700 miles west of Cape Blanco, Oregon. The fire was extinguished using installed firefighting systems, however, the ship sustained damage to its generators, leaving the crew with only minimal battery power and without propulsion.

A Coast Guard aircrew aboard an HC-130 Hercules from Air Station Sacramento, California, delivered two satellite telephones and a VHF-FM radio to the tanker on Thursday, the Coast Guard said, and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton, a 418-foot National Security Cutter homeported in Alameda, California, is on scene to provide assistance.

One crewmember was reported as deceased as a result of the casualty, the Coast Guard said.

In addition to the Coast Guard assets, vessels registered with the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System, or AMVER for short, were diverted to the scene and have been providing ongoing visual assessments of the vessel’s condition.

The Coast Guard said the vessel’s owner has contracted the commercial tugboat Millennium Falcon, based in Anacortes, Washington, to respond to the incident. The tugboat is expected to arrive at the tanker’s location in about three days with a damage control specialist.

The Coast Guard statement did not provide the name of the tanker, or the identity of the owner. From the video, it appears that the tanker belongs to Tokyo Marine Asia and could be the MT Pine Galaxy, which is the only Bahamas-flagged vessel listed on the company’s fleet list.

A report from the Associated Press said that the tanker left Los Angeles on August 9 bound for South Korea with a cargo of propylene tetramer, but added that the ship’s cargo area was not damaged in the fire.

“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.”

MT Pine Galaxy photo (c) MarineTraffic.com/
MT Pine Galaxy photo (c) MarineTraffic.com/PixelOpa