Friday, January 16, 2009
A moored boat sank after bumping into an oil rig platform Thursday, spilling some of the vessel's diesel fuel into the Cook Inlet and forcing 14 people to evacuate from the rig. The Coast Guard said it received a mayday call early Thursday from the captain of the Monarch, an oil supply vessel. The captain reported that the 166-foot vessel was taking on water at the Granite Point platform, which is owned by Chevron Corp. The Coast Guard said seven rig workers and the boat's seven crew members were evacuated by helicopter from the platform as a precaution. The Coast Guard earlier had said the boat's crew chose to stay on the rig. Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Francis said ice pinned the vessel against one of the legs of the platform, creating a possibly unsafe situation, but seven workers remained on the platform. Some of the vessel's diesel fuel spilled, Francis said, and it was impossible to place containment booms around the site because of the ice and extreme tides in Cook Inlet.The Monarch was carrying approximately 35,000 gallons of diesel fuel when it began taking on water.Union Oil Co. of California, a subsidiary of Chevron that operates the platform, chartered the vessel to deliver supplies to the platform, said Roxanne Sinz, a Chevron spokeswoman in Anchorage. The vessel, which is owned and operated by Ocean Marine Services Inc., overturned after it came into contact with the platform, she said. Coast Guard Petty Officer Walter Shinn had said there was "a lot of ice around the platform" and that the winds were blowing around 30 mph Thursday. A representative of Ocean Marine Services, which is based in Kirkland, Wash., had no comment Thursday. The Coast Guard was working with the vessel owner on a salvage operation. The platform is in the northern section of Cook Inlet about 45 miles southwest of Anchorage.