Jan 15 2009
Cook Inlet Oil Platform Service Ship in Peril
Thursday, 15 January 2009

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            An oil platform supply vessel is in trouble in Cook Inlet. The 166-foot ship the Monarch sent out a mayday call at 5:51 this morning, saying it was taking on water. It was tied up to the Granite Point oil platform in upper Cook Inlet, about 45 miles southwest of Anchorage.

            Coast Guard reports vary, but the Monarch is either partially or fully submerged. The crew of seven was safely evacuated to the oil platform.

            The Nikiski-based tug Vigilant is on the scene, and the Homer-based cutter Hickory is en route. Coast Guard marine safety detachment personnel from Kenai is also on the way.

            A Coast Guard C-130 from Air Station Kodiak has been sent to observe the situation, and helicopters will follow when the weather permits.

            The Monarch is carrying about 35,000 gallons of diesel fuel, but no spill has been reported.

            With the recent cold, upper Cook Inlet has seen heavy icing, and the Coast Guard is reporting ice around the platform.