On February 16, the 30 meter long tugboat Samson Mariner and 322 foot long barge Saint Elias off Gravina Island on Rosa Reef near Ketchikan, Alaska. The vessels were proceeding to Valdez via the Inside Passage in calm seas when the vessels ran aground on the northeast end of Gravina Island. The Samson Mariner sustained hull damage with a 2 inch gash in the hull rupturing the port fuel tank. Some 1,100 gallons of diesel fuel was released into the water before the crew was able to plug the leak. Authorities were alerted and arrived on scene placing a containment boom around the tug. The Samson Mariner and the Saint Elias were later refloated and towed to Ward Cove.
Reports state there were no injuries and no damage to the Saint Elias which had some 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time of the incident. The Coast Guard and Alaskan authorities continued to monitor the situation while contractors attempt to recover the released fuel using booms and absorbent pads. The cause of the grounding was not reported. The Saint Elias had run aground before in 2011 off the San Juan Islands, Washington.
On February 16, the 25 meter long, 36 dwt fishing vessel Shkval became disabled in the Barents Sea off the coast of Russia. The Shkval was trawling in heavy seas when it suffered engine failure. Unable to restart the engine, the vessel sent out a distress call and requested assistance.
Local authorities dispatched the tug Murmanryba to take the Shkval under tow. Reports state the tug would arrive several hour later and tow the Shkval to Murmansk. There were no injuries to the nine crew on board, damage or pollution released.
On February 13, the 295 meter long, 72807 dwt container ship APL Austria caught fire off Cape St. Francis, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The fire started in the No. 4 hold when something inside a container ignited. The fire spread to adjacent containers spewing out plumes of dense smoke. The crew attempted to put of the blaze as a dozen containers were on fire.
Unable to extinguish the fire, the crew sent out a distress call for assistance to South African authorities. The vessel was instructed to proceed to an anchorage in Algoa Bay. A NSRI lifeboat from Port Elizabeth was launched while several tugs with a firefighting team were dispatched to the scene. While tugs attempted to contain the blaze by dousing the containers with water, all four non-essential crew members were evacuated off the container ship. One crewman of the APL Austria had sustained a leg injury and taken to hospital for treatment.
The APL Austria was escorted by the tugs to the Port of Ngqura. There local fire tugs finally extinguished the blaze. Reports state the APL Austria had hazardous materials on board, but those containers did not catch on fire. The exact cause of the fire has not yet been reported. Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.