Tugs Save Disabled Maersk Containership About to Run Aground in Alaska

Laura Maersk adrift approximately 7 miles north of Akutan, Alaska, July 14, 2017. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

A disabled Maersk containership was towed to safety on Saturday after losing power and threatening to run aground in Alaska.

The United States Coast Guard and the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) confirmed that the 872-foot Laura Maersk lost power on Friday at around 1700 local time while underway north of Akutan Island in Alaska’s Aleutian island chain.

The vessel was carrying an unconfirmed number of containers and an estimated 51,500 gallons of fURL oil.

A situation report from the DEC published on Saturday said that the vessel came within just 5.5 nautical miles of landfall oft Akutan before it was rescued by the tug Millenium Falcon and two other tugs sent to retrieve the disabled vessel.

The Laura Maersk arrived in Unalaska on Saturday morning where it was moored in Broad Bay at about 0745 local time.

An I nitial report indicating that a fire in the engine room caused the ship to lose power was dismissed by the DEC, which added that the cause of loss of power is not known.

There was no reported pollution ir injuries among the Laura Maersk’s 24 crew members.

“The vessel was adrift approximately 7 miles north of Akutan (near North Head). The Coast Guard federalized the response and deployed air asset H60 and their cutter Midgett to the distressed vessel. The Coast Guard contracted Resolve’s M/V Makushin Bay and the tugs Millenium Falcon and Gretchen Dunlap (with the State’s Emergency Towing System onboard) . The Millennium Falcon was able to arrest the Laura Maersk’s drift approximately 5.5 nautical miles from landfall in Akutan. The State’s Emergency Towing System was successfully deployed and the Gretchen Dunlap towed the Laura Maersk to Unalaska arriving at the mooring buoy in Broad Bay at approximately 0745 July 15,” the DEC said in its report.

As of Monday the Laura Maersk was still moored in Broad Bay and was awaiting repairs and an inspection from its classification society.