The Coast Guard airlifted five crewmen from the 102-foot tug Ocean Eagle on Wednesday. The Ocean Eagle is operated by Brusco Tug and Barge Company based in Longview Washington. The Ocean Eagle and the 300-foot barge it was towing went aground on Mariposa Reef on the south side of Strait Island in Sumner Strait. Weather conditions on the scene were reported to be 34 mile per hour winds with 6 feet seas.
The Coast Guard airlifted the crewmen to safety when the tug reportedly began taking on water. The five rescued crewmen from the Ocean Eagle were taken to Sitka. No crewman injuries were reported in initial news releases.
The barge reportedly had 58,000 gallons of diesel fuel divided among multiple tanks and was also carrying dry cargo. Whether or not there has been any pollution consequence from the grounding has not been reported. After running aground the tug and barge refloated itself and then ran aground in Alvin Cove.
The owners of the Ocean Eagle have commercial tugs on the scene. The Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are working with the tug owner to remove the grounded vessels and prevent potential environmental damage.
No information was available as to the cause of the Ocean Eagle and the barge’s grounding. The Ocean Eagle will be required to file Coast Guard accident reports outlining the cause of the incident. In March of 2016 the Ocean Eagle was involved in a previous grounding in Seymour Straits near the Campbell River.
The Coast Guard will likely conduct further investigation into this new incident and this post will be updated when further information is available.