At 06:11 on Sunday, June 26, the captain of the Aries, a 68′ tugboat owned by C&K Marine, Anchorage, Alaska, radioed a mayday that was picked up the Coast Guard in Kodiak. (Listen to the mayday call here.) The tug had been towing a deck barge with construction equipment when the boat started taking on water. At the time of the mayday call, the captain said the tug was listing about 30° to starboard. Wind in the area was reported to be 29 mph, with 11′ waves and a water temperature of 46°. The tug’s location was about 100 miles east of St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea.
Shortly after the call, the crew abandoned ship in survival suits and climbed from the tug to the barge, from which they were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter at 13:30 and taken to St. Paul.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Lally said the barge was anchored and that another tug would pick up the barge and tow it to Nome, Alaska.
Lally also said that the Coast Guard and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation were working with the owner of the tug on a salvage plan. The tug was reportedly carrying 29,000 gals. of diesel fuel. Water depth where the tug sank is 300′, according to the Coast Guard.
The cause of the sinking has yet to be determined.
Watch video here of the Air Station Kodiak HC-130 crew dropping a radio can to the Aries crew: