Coast Guard responds to tug grounding in Western Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage are en route to Aleknagik to investigate the grounding of the Crowley tug Twi-Lite. They will conduct an on site damage assessment.

At 10 p.m. Tuesday Crowley notified the Coast Guard that the tug Twi-Lite hit a rock located a half mile south of Aleknagik, on the Wood River, 14 miles north of Dillingham. At the time they were pushing an empty inspected oil barge. The barge was not damaged.

The tug sustained an 18 inch by 3 inch hole to the hull in the engine room, four feet aft of the integral fuel tanks. The crew was able to shore up the breach using plywood and spare lifevests. There is currently four feet of standing water in the engine room. No pollution has been reported.

One crewman sustained an injury to his lower arm while conducting damage control in the engine room. He has been transported to the Aleknagik Clinic for treatment.

The tug is currently aground and the crew has deployed the anchor. They are working to place containment boom around the vessel as a precaution. Crowley representatives are working with the Coast Guard on a salvage plan and hope to refloat tug when an assist tug arrives on scene Friday morning.

More permanent repairs will be made a half mile down river on Crowley property with Coast Guard oversight.

The Twi-Lite is a U.S. flagged 74-foot triple screw vessel with a 3-foot 6 inch draft and 640 horsepower. It was built in 1981.

Crowley makes regular fuel deliveries to several Western Alaska villages.

Aleknagik is located at the head of Wood River on the southeast end of Lake Aleknagik, 16 miles northwest of Dillingham. The population is recorded at about 221.

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