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AUGUST 2008 ISSUE

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September 12, 2008

Bulker rescue mission aborted

As Hurricane Ike approached the Texas coast, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Air Force were forced to abort a rescue mission Friday to save the 22 crew members on a Cyprus-flag bulker.

The Coast Guard received a call around 4 a.m. Sept. 12, 2008, from the motor vessel Antalina, a 584-foot freighter with 22 people aboard and carrying petroleum coke, reporting that it had lost main propulsion 90-miles southeast of Galveston and was drifting southwest away from the coast.

The Antalina departed Port Arthur, Texas to seek a safe haven away from Hurricane Ike when the vessel lost propulsion. Chron.com, the Houston Chronicle web site, reports New Orleans based Petty Officer Jaclyn Young as saying Friday afternoon that the five helicopters and planes sent to assist the ship could not safely rescue the crew.

"We will talk to them hourly and they have electricity and no injuries. They have an emergency beacon to put on if they get in distress,'' she said. But the Coast Guard will not be able to approach until the storm passes, she said.

According to the chron.com posting, Chief Michael O'Berry said two medium range recovery helicopters, and three other planes went on the mission in high, agitated seas.

A statement issued by the Coast Guard this afternoon said the rescue crews were forced to land in Lake Charles, La. due to prohibitive heavy weather.

The HU-25 Falcon rescue jet was able to reach the Antalina and observed 20-foot seas, 80-knot winds and visibility as low as a half-mile.

"Unfortunately there were 80-knot winds on scene, well beyond the operating conditions for the air crews to safely rescue the crew of the Antalina. The safety of the rescue crews and the crew of the Antalina are of the utmost importance to us. The Coast Guard will continue to maintain contact with the crew of the Antalina and monitor their situation very closely," said Rear Adm. Joel R. Whitehead, commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

According to the Equasis data base, the 1984-built, BV-classed Antalina is registered to Perovo Shipping Co., Cyprus, and managed by TEO Shipping Corp., Athens, Greece.

The Coast Guard's PSIX data base shows that the vessel had three electrical system deficiencies when inspected in Houston in February--a ground in the 440 V main distribution panel, a ground in the galley range and a ground in the emergency battery distribution system. These were corrected.

However, the Equasis data base showed that the Antalina didn't do too well at a Tokyo MOU port state inspection in Shentzen, China, in May this year. It was detained after the inspection revealed 28 deficiencies. SEE DETAILS


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