The 68-foot tug Aries sank in the Bering Sea east of St. Paul Island. The tug was towing a barge when the crew discovered the vessel was taking on water. The weather was rough with 11 foot waves and 30 mile per hour winds. The tug’s crew contacted the Coast Guard that they were in need of assistance. The Coast Guard dispatched a HC-130 Hercules airplane which reached the scene to see only the barge afloat. The crew of the Aries had transferred over to the barge before the tug sank. A Coast Guard helicopter arrived a few hours later and hoisted the 4 crewmen off the barge. They were safely taken to St. Paul Island. The Aries sank with 29,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board. Reports state there is a visable oil slick. Authorities have deployed vessels to handle environmental issues and to see if the tug could be salvaged. The reason for the Aries sinking has not yet been determined.
The Aries is a Gulf Coast style tug built in 1980 in Gibson, Louisiana. The vessel was recently refurbished in Seattle before being leased to C & K Marine from Olympic Tug & Barge, Inc. of Seattle.
More information on the Aries and Rescue at the Bitterend Blog