Fishing Vessel Ice Bay Towed to Safety

SITKA, AK – US Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) MELLON and Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Sir Wilfrid Laurier teamed up to tow fishing vessel Icy Bay to safety after she suffered mechanical troubles which left her stranded 250 miles from Graham Island, Canada in the frigid and stormy Gulf of Alaska.

A mayday call was issued at 9:15 AM, May 2nd from the Icy Bay after, it is suspected, poor quality fuel oil damaged both of her main diesel engines. One engine lost power and was unable to run, and the other was only able to make 3.5 knots. The uncertain status of the other diesel engine and an impending storm front necessitated a quick response by the US and Canadian Coast Guards.

The CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier was the first vessel to arrive on scene at 4:21 PM. Fuel samples were drawn from both of the ship’s fuel oil service tanks and showed large amounts of water and sediment. Samples were then drawn from the ship’s two fuel storage tanks and showed minimal water intrusion, but also showed heavy sediment. Canadian Coast Guard engineers assisted the engineer of the Icy Bay in rigging temporary fuel lines from the main fuel storage tank to the ship’s main generator and it’s only functional main engine allowing the generator to produce power until she was safely towed to Sitka, AK.

After CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier had towed the fishing vessel 140 miles, the USCGC MELLON arrived on-scene and took over. Three MELLON engineers were embarked to assess the extent of the damage and determine the stability of the vessel. MELLON engineers drew fuel samples to determine the quality of the fuel and ensure the generator would not have any potential problems. Fuel quality was bad and again showed heavy signs of water and sediment. At 4:58, May 3rd USCGC MELLON took the fishing vessel Icy Bay in tow with 114 miles remaining to Sitka, AK.

There are no injuries reported aboard the Icy Bay and the vessel appears stable. Upon arrival in Sitka, AK, industrial mechanics will attempt to correct the steering gear and engine troubles.

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