Coast Guard stops drift of stranded freighter in Bering Sea

Posted: Thursday, January 18, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Coast Guard cutter Alex Haley has hooked a line to a stranded bulk cargo carrier stranded in the Bering Sea to keep it from drifting further south.

Petty Officer Amy Marrs said Wednesday the cutter is not able to tow the 595-foot Alam Selaras in the stormy waters.

''They're basically holding them on station so they don't drift anymore,'' Marrs said.

The Malaysian-flagged ship was en route from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Japan when its main engine quit Tuesday.

The ship's captain reported the vessel, loaded with grain, dead in the water about 125 miles north of Dutch Harbor.

Winds in the area Wednesday were blowing at 26 knots and seas were up to 18 feet.

A commercial tug hired by the vessel's agent to take the Alam Selaras under tow to Dutch Harbor left Wednesday morning but was not expected to reach the Alam Selaras for six days.

The Alex Haley is a converted Navy tug. Marrs said the Coast Guard was able to turn the stranded vessel so that it could face the wind.

The bulk cargo carrier is carrying a crew of 23.

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