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Marine Log

December 28, 2007

Contaminated fuel disables containership

The U.S. Coast Guard has been continuing to monitor a drifting container ship that lost power Wednesday about 90 miles southeast of Nantucket, R.I.

The Agaman, a 331-foot general cargo container ship, owned by the Komrowski Shipping Company based in Hamburg, Germany, was on a voyage from Cuba to Canada when contaminated fuel seized its engines and generators, rendering the ship powerless and adrift in 15-foot seas. There have been no reports of injuries.

Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., HU-25 Falcon jet crews made two trips to the Agaman today, and two AMVER participating merchant vessels have remained alongside the Agaman since Wednesday. Both ships remained alongside Agaman as a communications conduit to the Coast Guard and as an immediate rescue platform should the Agaman crew need to be extracted from their ship.

The first ship to come to Agaman's rescue was the 524-foot bulk carrier Dual Confidence that arrived almost immediately Wednesday. It was relieved Thursday by the 598-foot Greek-flagged tanker Aegeas.

With help from the Aegeas chief engineer, the Agaman chief engineer was able to make repairs to provide limited power to operate the radios, but was unable to restore heat for the crew.

"The crew of the Agaman will not have enough food to last the voyage and is keeping warm by wearing extra clothes and tending a fire on the poop deck, where they are cooking food," said Karavidas Georgios, the master of the Aegeas.

The Aegeas remained on scene with the Agaman until the Moselle, a 595-foot Danish tanker, relieved them at 5:00 p.m. The sea state has subsided to less than 10-foot swells, but is expected to pick up gain Saturday.

Komrowski Shipping has contracted for the Atlantic Salvor, a 151-foot ocean-going tug from Hillside, N.J., based DonJon Marine Company, to take supplies to the Agaman crew and tow the disabled ship more than 170 miles to the Port of New York for repairs. The Atlantic Salvor arrived alongside Agaman at about 6 p.m. and took the vessel in tow.

"The assistance rendered by these Amver vessels has helped us immensely," said Lt. Michael Nalli, the Coast Guard's command duty officer in Boston. "Because the Agaman is presently in no danger of sinking, the Amver vessels' assistance allows us to keep our cutters focused on protecting the homeland, enforcing our nation's fisheries regulations, and rescuing those in peril."

The merchant vessels Dual Confidence, Aegeas and Moselle are Amver participating ships. Amver is sponsored by the U. S. Coast Guard, and is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea. Rescue authorities can immediately identify the nearest participating merchant ship to assist anyone reporting a distress, anywhere on our world's oceans.

"These Good Samaritan ships are exceptional examples of the over 3,200 Amver vessels available to assist mariners in distress every day," said Benjamin M. Strong, Amver Maritime Relations officer. "In fact, the Aegeas enrolled in Amver just this past May and has already earned a participation award for rendering assistance," he added.

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