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Cook Inlet shipwrecks date to 1871

Posted: Friday, February 03, 2006

The Thursday morning grounding of the Seabulk Pride oil tanker north of the Tesoro loading dock in Nikiski is just the most recent in a long list of Cook Inlet mishaps dating back as far as 1871.

Following is a list of some of the more noteworthy shipwrecks:

· The bark vessel Washington was blown ashore at Kasilof on Jan. 1, 1871, while on a voyage to catch and salt fish. The captain and crew built a large whaleboat from the ship’s timbers, continued fishing and acquired a catch that was taken to market by a hired vessel.

· The steamer Elizabeth Mary was stranded in a gale and heavy seas in Cook Inlet on Oct. 18, 1892.

· An unnamed sloop, heavily loaded with passengers and freight, was caught in a tidal bore and swamped near Sunrise City at Turnagain Arm. The vessel and nine men, including seven Cooper River prospectors, were lost. The captain’s dog was the only survivor.

· The wood steamer Farallon went aground and wrecked in a snowstorm Jan. 5, 1910, on Black Reef at the north entrance of Iliamna Bay in Cook Inlet. Everyone escaped to shore in six lifeboats and were rescued by the steamer Victoria.

· The gas-screw vessel Olaf foundered in Cook Inlet five miles north of the Kenai River July 12, 1924, while taking salmon from the Salamatof fish trap to a cannery in Kenai.

· The scow Libby, McNeill and Libby No. 9 was anchored near the Salamatof fish trap when a heavy southwest gale sprang up Aug. 3, 1932, broke the scow’s moorings and caused it to go onto the beach where it was pounded to pieces.

· The diesel tug Craig Foss capsized and sank in midchannel of Cook Inlet 17 miles north of Kenai on Nov. 11, 1965, after the tug became fouled with an anchor cable of the pipelaying barge it was towing. The tug healed over and went down. All 10 crew members were rescued by nearby work boats.

· The tanker Yukon struck an underwater object in Cook Inlet on March 1, 1969, rupturing four fuel tanks while outbound with 200,000 gallons of crude oil. Some oil escaped before the rest was discharged at the Drift River Terminal. The ship went to Portland for repairs.

· A malfunctioning bow thruster caused the tanker Tokyo Arctic to ram the Nikiski dock July 3, 1974.

· The tug David Foss sank in 60 feet of water after taking on water in the stern while tending an oil rig four miles off Kasilof in icy conditions Jan. 11, 1975. Six crew members escaped. The tug was not salvaged.

· The U.S. Navy fuel tanker Sealift Pacific grounded 3.5 miles north of Nikiski on Oct. 5, 1976, and between 3,100 and 7,200 barrels of oil leaked into Cook Inlet.

· The oil tanker Overseas Washington lost power Feb. 17, 1994, near Nikiski, when a water pump lost power and shut down. The pump fed water to a boiler that turned a turbine. The crew started a backup pump and dropped anchor as a precaution.

· Heavy ice hit the tank barge Energizer on Jan. 19, 2000, while it was being loaded at the Tesoro-KPL dock in Nikiski. The mooring lines broke and the barge pulled away from the dock causing 150 gallons of the gas additive isomerate to leak into Cook Inlet. The vessel hull sustained minor scrapes, but the dock was significantly damaged.

Source: www.mms.gov/alaska/ ref/ships/index



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