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Cougar Ace

The Cougar Ace, a 654-foot Singapore flagged car carrier, sailed from Japan on July 22 with a load of 4,813 cars. The vessel was traveling along a great circle route to two ports on the West Coast of Canada and the United States. The vessel encountered difficulty during a ballast exchange on July 24 about 230 miles south of the Aleutian Island chain in international waters. The vessel sustained a 60 degree list within a few minutes. There were 23 people on board. One of the crewmen suffered a broken leg, but there were no other reported injuries. Salvage crews attempted to right the vessel at sea but weather conditions and the large swells common to the Pacific Ocean forced a change of venue to the sheltered waters of Wide Bay on the north side of Unalaska Island. The crews proceeded to hook onto the enormous ship laden with cars and tow it through Samalga Pass and into the Bering Sea. F

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The Cougar Ace, a 654-foot Singapore flagged car carrier, sailed from Japan on July 22 with a load of 4,813 cars. The vessel was traveling along a great circle route to two ports on the West Coast of Canada and the United States. The vessel encountered difficulty during a ballast exchange on July 24 about 230 miles south of the Aleutian Island chain in international waters. The vessel sustained a 60 degree list within a few minutes. There were 23 people on board. One of the crewmen suffered a broken leg, but there were no other reported injuries. Salvage crews attempted to right the vessel at sea but weather conditions and the large swells common to the Pacific Ocean forced a change of venue to the sheltered waters of Wide Bay on the north side of Unalaska Island. The crews proceeded to hook onto the enormous ship laden with cars and tow it through Samalga Pass and into the Bering Sea. Following the necessary surveys, salvage crews worked steadily to dewater the number nine cargo deck and add water to the appropriate ballast tanks to right the vessel. They ship was kept at a 10 degree list for several days to facilitate cleaning before it was finally righted completely. Crews re-secured all the cargo, mostly Mazda brand vehicles. Only 41 of the 4,813 cars were found to have shifted. The crew of the Cougar Ace and the sea going tug Sea Victory towed the fully righted ship from Wide Bay near Unalaska Island on September 1st, 2006, to Portland, Oregon following several weeks of work by salvage crews to right the vessel, re-secure the cargo and clean the interior to make it habitable again. The Coast Guard cutter Rush, a 378-foot cutter based in Hawaii, was diverted from a previous mission in Alaska at 11:36 p.m. Monday. Given the distance off shore of the Cougar Ace it was estimated that the Rush would not be on scene for at least 20 hours. A Coast Guard C-130 aircraft from Kodiak arrived on scene at 5:40 a.m. Monday carrying life rafts, immersion suits and survival kits. The C-130 crew dropped several inflatable life rafts, and was able to assist in getting one of them tied off to the side of the heavily listing vessel. The crew was standing on a narrow platform about 150 feet in the air, and it was determined that trying to get down to the life raft would be too dangerous. Two Air National Guard HC-130 planes and one C-130 planes, two Air National Guard Pavehawk helicopters, were also launched. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak also launched an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. Rescue operations began at 9:05 p.m. Monday. At 9:30 p.m. crewmembers of the first Pavehawk helicopter crew hoisted seven crewmembers of the Cougar Ace. At 9:43 p.m. the Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crew hoisted eight of the crewmembers and returned to Adak. The second Pavehawk helicopter crew hoisted the remaining crewmembers, returning them to Adak. and eventually returned to their homes in Asia

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Author: Hillebrand, Steve/USFWS

License: Public Domain Mark 1.0 (Public domain)
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Added On
15th September 2015
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