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Posts Tagged ‘United Arab Emirates’

Loader found dead in container; Suffocation suspected

Posted by Admin on February 14, 2012

http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/loader-found-dead-in-container-suffocation-suspected-2012-02-12-1.442629

Taxi driver found hanging in Ras Al Khaimah

By VM Sathish
Published Sunday, February 12, 2012
An onion loader at the Al Awir Fruits and Vegetable market. A co-worker of his was found dead in a container (File)

A 55-year-old Indian porter found dead inside a massive onion container is likely to have died of suffocation because of the onion odour, the chief of Dubai’s criminal investigation was reported on Monday as saying.

Brigadier Khalil Al Mansoori said the body of worker at Al Awir vegetable market had been handed to the coroner to determine the precise cause of death.

“It was noticed that the dead man had blue signs on the face and lips, which indicate his dead was caused by suffocation because of low oxygen levels,” he said, quoted by the Sharjah-based Arabic language daily ‘Al Khaleej’.

“According to forensic experts, onion inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide, which leads to asphyxia and eventually death.”

Mansoori urged shipping firms not to allow their workers to sleep in loaded containers, adding that he had instructed Rashidiya police to mount an awareness drive for porters to alert them about the risks of sleeping inside containers and other places which lack ventilation.

“We are now awaiting a final forensic report about the exact cause of death of that Indian loader…details will be released later,” he said.

The worker from Tamil Nadu state was found dead inside an onion container on Sunday morning. He had worked till night loading onions in a 40-feet container and decided to sleep inside the container because of the cold weather.

EARLIER STORY:

An Indian worker from Tamil Nadu at the Al Awir Fruits and Vegetables Market was found dead inside an onion container on Sunday morning.

The worker, in his 50s, worked till night loading onions in a 40-feet container. Because of the cold weather, he chose to sleep inside the container, partially filled with onions.

According to Dubai Police, the dead man was found on Sunday morning and the cause of death is being investigated. Preliminary reports suggest that he died of carbon dioxide inhalation from the container. His body has been moved to the police morgue.

“Because of the cold weather, many workers who usually sleep on the pavements and under the trees have shifted to containers, which are warmer. It is not known whether the  man died of suffocation after someone closed the container without knowing that someone was sleeping inside,“ said a trader at the vegetable market. “He could have died of carbon dioxide produced by the onions in the locked container,” sources said.

The worker, who lives in the Hor Al Anz area, chose to sleep in the container rather than travel back to his accommodation and return to work early next morning.

“There are no fixed timings for workers in the fruit and vegetable market. After the market was shifted from Deira to Al Awir. Many workers continued to stay in their old accommodation. They have to work at odd hours, sleep wherever they find temporary shelter and resume work. It is common to see workers sleeping under the trees, on pavements and containers. During the cold season, many workers find it convenient to sleep in containers,” said an Asian worker.

According to sources in the vegetable market, containers with Advanced Fresh Air Management systems allow low levels of oxygen as onions can tolerate up to 10 per cent carbon dioxide which helps reducing sprouting, root growth and decay of the vegetable. By increasing the carbon dioxide level and minimising the ventilation openings, such containers can minimise water loss from onions and build up carbon dioxide levels, which can help to preserve onions.

Taxi driver found dead in RAK

Meanwhile, a 40- year-old Indian taxi driver was found dead on Sunday morning.

Manikuttan, a Keralite from Thiruvananthapuram, was found hanging from the celing at his accommodation in Al Julan area of Ras Al Khaimah.

According to his friends, Manikuttan, who is survived by two children and wife, returned from work and reportedly committed suicide.

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Western, Arab talks to focus on Libya “end-game”

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110608/wl_nm/us_libya

By Khaled al-Ramahi Wed Jun 8, 6:20 pm ET

MISRATA (Reuters) – Western and Arab nations meet in Abu Dhabi on Thursday to focus on what one U.S. official called the “end-game” for Libya‘s Muammar Gaddafi as NATO once again stepped up the intensity of its air raids on Tripoli.

NATO air strikes resumed in Tripoli on Wednesday night after a lull that followed the heaviest day of bombings since March. Thousands of Gaddafi troops advanced on Misrata on Wednesday, shelling it from three sides and killing at least 12 rebels.

Ministers from the so-called Libya contact group, including the United States, France and Britain, as well as Arab allies Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan, agreed in May to set up a fund to help the rebels in the civil war.

They are expected to firm up this commitment in the United Arab Emirates capital and press the rebels to give a detailed plan on how they would run the country if Gaddafi stood down as leader of the oil producing North African desert state.

“The international community is beginning to talk about what could constitute end-game to this,” one senior U.S. official told reporters aboard U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s plane which landed in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday night.

“That would obviously include some kind of ceasefire arrangement and some kind of political process … and of course the question of Gaddafi and perhaps his family is also a key part of that,” the U.S. official said.

Both Libya’s rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) and its Western allies have rejected Libyan government ceasefire offers that do not include Gaddafi’s departure, saying he and his family must relinquish power before any talks can begin.

The U.S. official said there have been general discussions about what might happen to Gaddafi but nothing specific on “where he should go, or whether he should remain in Libya for that matter.”

U.S. officials on Wednesday announced delivery of the TNC’s first U.S. oil sale, part of a broader strategy they hope will get money flowing to the cash starved group.

U.S. oil refiner Tesoro announced in May it had purchased the 1.2 million barrel cargo, which U.S. officials said was due to arrive in Hawaii on Wednesday aboard a tanker chartered by Swiss oil trader Vitol.

“PRESSURE WILL INCREASE”

British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, who will be at the Abu Dhabi talks, said the group would be briefed by the International Stabilisation Response Team which is helping the rebel council plan for post-conflict rebuilding.

“The contact group will also reiterate the unequivocal message … that Gaddafi, his family and his regime have lost all legitimacy and must go so that the Libyan people can determine their own future,” Burt said.

“Until Gaddafi does so, the pressure will increase across the board: economically, politically and militarily.”

NATO defense ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday, but there were few signs of willingness to intensify their Libya mission, which after four months has failed to oust Gaddafi.

The alliance says the bombing aims to protect civilians from the Libyan leader’s military, which crushed popular protests against his rule in February, leaving many dead. The conflict has now become a civil war.

Gaddafi says the rebels are a minority of Islamist militants and the NATO campaign is an attempt to grab Libya’s oil.

On the battlefront, forces loyal to Gaddafi were staging a big push on Misrata. “He has sent thousands of troops from all sides and they are trying to enter the city. They are still outside, though, ” rebel spokesman Hassan al-Misrati told Reuters from inside the besieged town.

Another rebel spokesman in Misrata, called Mohammed, told Reuters late on Wednesday they were still in control of the city despite the assault.

Spain joined other Western and Arab governments in recognizing the Benghazi-based council as the sole representative of the Libyan people.

Gaddafi troops and the rebels have been deadlocked for weeks, with neither side able to hold territory on a road between Ajdabiyah in the east, which Gaddafi forces shelled on Monday, and the Gaddafi-held oil town of Brega further west.

Rebels control the east of Libya, the western city of Misrata and the range of western mountains near the border with Tunisia. They have been unable to advance on the capital against Gaddafi’s better-equipped forces.

(Additional reporting by Peter Graff in Tripoli, Adrian Croft in London and Andrew Quinn in Abu Dhabi; writing by John Irish, editing by Peter Millership)

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Blackwater founder builds foreign force in UAE: report

Posted by Admin on May 15, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110515/wl_nm/us_uae_troops

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The crown prince of Abu Dhabi has hired the founder of private security firm Blackwater Worldwide to set up an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

The Times said it obtained documents that showed the unit being formed by Erik Prince‘s new company Reflex Responses with $529 million from the UAE would be used to thwart internal revolt, conduct special operations and defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from attack.

The newspaper said the decision to hire the contingent of foreign troops was taken before a wave of popular unrest spread across the Arab world in recent months, including to the UAE’s Gulf neighbors Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

The UAE itself has seen no serious unrest. Most of its population is made up of foreign workers.

Blackwater, which once had lucrative contracts to protect U.S. officials in Iraq, became notorious in the region in 2007 when its guards opened fire in Baghdad traffic, killing at least 14 people in what the Iraqi government called a “massacre.”

One former Blackwater guard pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges in those killings, and a U.S. court reinstated charges against five others last month. Prince has since sold the firm, which changed its name to Xe. The firm denies wrongdoing.

The newspaper said the Emirates, a close ally of the United States, had some support in Washington for Prince’s new project, although it was not clear if it had official U.S. approval.

Two UAE government officials contacted by Reuters declined immediate comment on the New York Times report, and the U.S. embassy in the UAE also had no immediate comment. It was not possible to locate Prince for comment.

The Times quoted a U.S. official who was aware of the programme as saying: “The Gulf countries, and the U.A.E. in particular, don’t have a lot of military experience. It would make sense if they looked outside their borders for help.”

State Department spokesman Mark Toner told The Times the department was investigating to see if the project broke any U.S. laws. U.S. law requires a license for American citizens to train foreign troops.

Toner also pointed out that Blackwater, now known as Xe Services, had paid $42 million in fines in 2010 for training foreign forces in Jordan without a license, the Times said.

According to former employees of the project and U.S. officials cited by the Times, the troops were brought to a training camp in the UAE from Colombia, South Africa and other countries, starting in the summer of 2010.

They were being trained by retired U.S. military, and former members of German and British special operations units and the French Foreign Legion, the Times said.

Prince had insisted the force hire no Muslims, because they “could not be counted on to kill fellow Muslims,” the paper said.

Former employees also told the newspaper the Emirates hoped the force could be used to counter any threat from Iran, which the Arab states in the Gulf consider a foe.

Although The Times said the documents it obtained did not mention Erik Prince, former employees had told the newspaper he had negotiated the contract with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Emiriati officials had proposed expanding the force to a brigade of several thousand if the first battalion was successful, the newspaper said.

(Additional reporting is by Mahmoud Habboush)

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OPEC worried by high oil price, patchy global recovery

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/OPEC-worried-high-oil-price-reuters-5695835.html

On Monday 18 April 2011, 2:37 PM

 

OPEC building is pictured in the centre Vienna September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer/Files

By Eman Goma

KUWAIT (Reuters) – High oil prices represent a potentially major burden for importers with global economic recovery still fragile, leading OPEC ministers said on Monday.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, a day after confirming the kingdom slashed oil production by more than 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) in March due to weak demand, warned of continued weakness in the global economy.

“The recovery remains patchy, in many countries unemployment remains at unacceptable levels,” Naimi told a meeting of Middle Eastern and Asian energy officials, according to the text of his speech obtained by Reuters.

Consuming nations have warned that rising oil prices, which earlier this month touched $127 a barrel, their highest level since July 2008, pose a threat to economic growth.

OPEC ministers for the most part have acknowledged the risk high oil prices pose but say there is little the group can do about it as demand for crude is being met with sufficient supplies.

“At these high price levels, spending on oil imports could represent a significant economic burden for many import dependent countries,” Kuwait ‘s Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah said in a speech at the meeting.

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badri called on consuming nations to rein in speculators, saying they had added a $15 to $20 risk premium to the price of crude.

SAUDI SPECIAL BLEND REJECTED

Oil has been pushed higher since the start of the year by the wave of discontent that has swept through the Arab world, toppling the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and touching off a civil war in Libya that has brought oil exports to a halt.

Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates boosted output when Libyan supplies were lost but they have struggled to find buyers for the extra crude they are pumping.

Saudi Arabia tried to replicate Libya’s very low sulphur, high quality sweet oil with a special blend of crude, but refiners have only bought 2 million barrels of the blend.

“The market doesn’t want to change the Libyan crude, they still wait for the Libyan crude … I am surprised that nobody is buying the new ( Saudi ) crude,” Al-Badri, a former head of Libya’s OPEC delegation, told reporters.

The bulk of the crude oil produced by OPEC is sour, or high sulphur, while sweet crudes, like Libyan barrels, are highly prized for making transport fuels that have tight sulphur restrictions.

Iran ‘s OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters the market was well supplied with sour crude.

“There is a shortage of sweet crude, the Libyan kind, and as we enter the driving season there is higher demand for sweet crude,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Amena Bakr and Reem Shamseddine; writing by Robert Campbell; editing by James Jukwey)

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Economic Roots of Bahrain’s Crisis and a Needed GCC Response

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://www.truth-out.org/economic-roots-bahrain%E2%80%99s-crisis-and-a-needed-gcc-response68782

Monday 21 March 2011

by: James Zogby  |  Arab American Institute | News Analysis

All too frequently these days, I am asked whether our past polling at Zogby International gave us any advance clues to the uprisings that have occurred in several Arab countries. The answer, of course, is no. We were surprised, as, I believe, were the demonstrators themselves by the outpouring of support and the rapid growth of their movements in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond.

But while our polling couldn’t predict the uprisings, it nevertheless has been helpful in contributing to our understanding of the issues and concerns that define the political landscape in countries across the region.

In preparing for a talk on Bahrain earlier this week, I took a look at a survey of the “middle class” in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain we conducted a few years ago for McKinsey and Company. It was most instructive. What I found, back then, in that in-depth look into the economic status and outlook of Gulf Arabs were yellow flags flying all over our Bahrain data, warning that the country’s citizens were distressed.

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We found that not only are Bahrain’s neighbors in Saudi Arabia and the UAE wealthier, in terms of macro-economic indicators, their citizens are also more satisfied with their current status and more optimistic about their prospects for the future. Ask the questions “are you better off than your parents were when they were your age” and between two-thirds to three-quarters of Saudis and Emiratis say “yes”. On the other hand, only one-third of Bahrainis would agree that they are better off than their parent’s generation. And when asked whether their children would be better off in the future, more than a half of Saudis and Emiratis agreed that they would be better off, while only 17% of Bahrainis are optimistic about the future of their offspring.

Hard data establishes that Bahrain’s unemployment is significantly more than double that of its neighbors, but this is only part of the story. Most unemployed Saudis and Emiratis report having incomes (with some being fairly substantial coming from family support; others report income from rental properties or investments, etc). And most of those reporting themselves to be “unemployed” in those two countries come from households in which two or more individuals are employed. In Bahrain, on the other hand, most of the unemployed report having no sources of other income, most have no savings, and most come from households where only one person or no one at all is a wage-earner.

One doesn’t have to make the leap to a crude type of economic determinism to conclude that this economic stress in Bahrain would have consequences. Bahrainis report being less satisfied with their jobs and the salaries they receive, and give lower grades to government services than their neighbors in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

While this obvious economic distress in Bahrain is only one factor among others to which one can point in an effort to account for the turmoil in the country – it is a revealing and important factor nonetheless.

The issues of political reform, concerns with discrimination, and government accountability have now been brought to the forefront in Bahrain and are the key agenda items for a much needed national dialogue. But as this broader political discussion advances (and one can only hope that it does), the economic needs of Bahrain’s people should not be ignored. Meeting economic concerns will not substitute for political reform, but not addressing these economic matters will only make advancing on the political front all the harder.

In this area, Bahrain’s neighbors have a key role to play. Earlier this year, Gulf Cooperation Council members made a commitment of long-term financial assistance to Bahrain. And now they have sent troops into the country deepening their commitment to their neighbor and fellow member. More must be done. Bahrain needs help. Just as other GCC countries realized that the long-term standoff that shut down a vital part of the country was not sustainable or constructive, so too they must realize that the government’s crack-down that ended the standoff will also not solve the country’s problems or even contribute to a resolution. An honest, open, and good faith dialogue on all key issues is the only way forward. As that occurs, the GCC can design a more comprehensive economic package for Bahrain – as an incentive to move the reform process forward, as a sign of GCC solidarity with the Bahraini people and government, and as a way of demonstrating that Arab problems can be solved by Arabs.

All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.

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Bahrain sweeps into protest camp; 6 dead

Posted by Admin on March 16, 2011

02_20_2011_DC Bahrain Protest014.jpg

Bahrain Crisis

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110316/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain_protests

By BARBARA SURK and REEM KHALIFA, Associated Press Barbara Surk And Reem Khalifa, Associated Press 25 mins ago

MANAMA, Bahrain – Soldiers and riot police used tear gas and armored vehicles Wednesday to drive out hundreds of anti-government protesters occupying a landmark square in Bahrain’s capital, a day after emergency rule was imposed in the violence-wracked Gulf kingdom. At least six people were killed, according to witnesses and officials.

The full-scale assault launched at daybreak swept into Pearl Square, which has been the center of uprising against Bahrain’s rulers since it began more than a month ago. Stinging clouds of tear gas filled streets and black smoke rose from the square from the protesters’ tents set ablaze.

Witnesses said at least two protesters were killed when the square was stormed. Officials at Ibn Nafees Hospital said a third protester later died from gunshot wounds in his back. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of reprisals from authorities.

Meanwhile, Bahrain state TV also reported that two policemen died when they were hit by a vehicle after anti-government protesters were driven out. The Interior Ministry also at least one other policeman was killed, but did not give the cause.

It was unclear whether the offensive included soldiers from other Gulf nations who were dispatched to help Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy, which has been under relentless pressure from the country’s majority Shiite Muslims to give up its monopoly on power.

But state TV broadcast video showing military vehicles in the square flying Bahrain’s red-and-white flag as security officials moved through the wreckage of the encampment, set up at the base of a towering monument to the country’s history as a pearl diving center. The video showed the ground littered with debris, including satellite dishes and charred tent poles.

Helicopters crisscrossed over the square, which was cleared by security forces late last month but was later retaken by protesters after a deadly confrontation with army units.

Protesters fled for cover into side streets and security forces blocked main roads into Manama. Mobile phones were apparently jammed in central Manama during the height of the attack and Internet service was at a crawl.

Hamid Zuher, a 32-year-old protester who slept at the square, said riot police first moved in on foot through a haze of tear gas, firing in the air.

“They fired tear gas and then opened fire,” Zuher said. “We lifted our arms and started saying ‘Peaceful, Peaceful.’ Then we had to ran away. There was so much tear gas and shooting.”

In Shiite villages, people went to mosques to pray in a sign of protest against the Pearl Square crackdown. Others lit fires in anger. Clashes were reported in other mostly Shiite areas of the country, where traffic was tightly controlled by military forces in an apparent attempt to prevent protest gatherings or a surge of people toward the capital.

The roadblock also kept protesters possibly injured in the Pearl Square raid from reaching the main state hospital, which was working on generator power. The extent of the blackout in Manama was not immediately clear.

The official Bahrain news agency said the emergency rule bans “rallies and disrupting the public order” and imposes “movement restrictions” and possible curfews in some locations.

For Bahrain’s authorities, clearing Pearl Square would be more of a symbolic blow against protesters than a strategic victory as opposition groups are still be able to mobilize marches and other actions against the leadership.

Bahrain’s king on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency and instructed the military to battle unrest in the strategic nation, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. Shortly after the announcement, clashes erupted across the island nation, killing at least two civilians. Saudi officials also said one of it’s soldiers was killed.

Bahrain’s sectarian clash is increasingly viewed as an extension of the region’s rivalries between the Gulf Arab leaders and Shiite powerhouse Iran. Washington, too, is pulled deeply into the Bahrain’s conflict because of it’s key naval base — the Pentagon’s main Gulf counterweight to Iran’s growing military ambitions.

On Tuesday, Iran and it’s allied force in Lebanon, Hezbollah, denounced the presence of foreign soldiers in Bahrain. Iran has no direct political links with Bahrain’s main Shiite groups, but Iranian hard-liner in the past have called the tiny island nation that “14th Province” of the Islamic Republic.

Gulf rulers, particularly Saudi Arabia, fear that the collapse of Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy could embolden further revolts across the region and embolden the Saudi Shiite minority whose home region is connected to Bahrain by a causeway.

The state of emergency in the U.S.-backed regime gives Bahrain’s military chief wide authority to battle protesters demanding political reforms and equal rights for the majority Shiites.

Also Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rhodium Clinton expressed alarm over “provocative acts and sectarian violence,” and said she telephoned Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi to stress the need for the foreign forces to promote dialogue.

“We call for calm and restraint on all sides in Bahrain,” Clinton told reporters in Cairo, where she was urging on democratic currents that chased Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak from power last month.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon authorized military family members and civilians with non-emergency jobs to leave Bahrain as violence spread. A spokeswoman for Bahrain’s Gulf Air, Noof Buallay, said flights were operating normally at Manama’s airport.

The intervention of more than 1,000 Saudi-led troops from several Gulf nations was the first major cross-border military action to challenge one of the revolts sweeping across the Arab world. The Al Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain for 200 years.

The foreign troops are from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council‘s Peninsula Shield Force. The bloc is made up of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — all largely Sunni countries that have nervously watched the Arab world’s protests. The Saudi government on Tuesday withdrew accreditation to the chief Reuters correspondent there, complaining about a recent report on a protest in the kingdom. Reuters stood by its coverage.

Iran denounced the foreign intervention as “unacceptable” and predicted it would complicate the kingdom’s political crisis.

A senior Bahraini foreign affairs official, Hamad al-Amer, called the remarks “blatant intervention in internal Bahraini affairs” and said Iran’s ambassador to Bahrain was summoned to the Foreign Ministry.

A security official in Saudi Arabia said a Saudi sergeant was shot and killed by a protester in Bahrain’s capital, Manama. No other details were immediately given on the death of the soldier, identified as Sgt. Ahmed al-Raddadi. The Saudi official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

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Responders head to disabled ship in Bering Sea

Posted by Admin on December 5, 2010

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Emergency vessels rushed Saturday toward a struggling cargo ship carrying thousands of gallons of fuel oil that had been drifting near the far reaches of Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands, but began moving on limited power, officials said.

Engine problems caused the 738-foot Golden Seas, with a full load of canola seed, to drift in strong winds and rough waters in the Bering Sea early Friday, sparking concern it might run aground on an island.

The ship was about 28 miles north of Atka when improving weather allowed it to begin moving away from shore at about 4 mph late Friday afternoon, according to the Coast Guard and other responders.

A powerful commercial towing vessel was expected to reach the ship about mid-day Saturday while a Coast Guard cutter was expected by Sunday afternoon.

Responders said the vessel, which is managed by Allseas Marine, based in Athens, Greece, lost its turbo charger. That left it without enough power to overcome 29-foot seas and winds blowing at 45 mph. Conditions calmed later in the day, allowing the ship’s limited power to potentially avoid running aground before the vessels arrive.

“That buys us some time,” Coast Guard Capt. Jason Fosdick said Friday.

A Coast Guard C-130 aircraft flew over the Golden Seas and confirmed it was under way and moving away from land, Petty Officer David Mosley said.

Mosley said the Liberia-flagged ship is carrying more than 457,500 gallons of fuel oil, nearly 12,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 10,000 gallons of lube oil.

Officials said the ship was carrying a full load of canola seed, but didn’t elaborate on the quantity. The ship is en route from Vancouver, Canada, to the United Arab Emirates, the Coast Guard said.

There were no reports of injuries among the 20 crew members on board.

The ship had been drifting to the southeast at about 2 mph, Mosley said, and concern about the vessel going aground on nearby islands prompted the Coast Guard to work with the owner to contract any available tugs to assist.

The cutter Alex Haley and the towing vessel, the Tor Viking II, headed to the Golden Seas from Dutch Harbor, about 350 miles away. Atka is about 1,300 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The Golden Seas is the latest example of the challenges involved in responding to incidents in the remote region, said Whit Sheard, an Oceana attorney who sits on the Aleutian Island Risk Assessment Advisory Panel, established with criminal settlement funds from the grounding of the Selendang Ayu six years ago.

The ship, the same size of the Golden Seas, ran aground Dec. 8, 2004, and broke apart on the north side of Unalaska Island, also in the Aleutians. About 66,000 tons of soybeans were lost.

During rescue operations, a rogue wave crashed into a Coast Guard helicopter lifting Selendang Ayu crew members from the freighter, and the aircraft crashed. Six of the 10 freighter crew members were killed.

Sheard said emergencies such as Friday’s event again illustrate the crucial need for better response mechanisms, such as larger tugs in the area. Unalaska’s Dutch Harbor is the only port in the region with a possible response vessel, according to Sheard, who was among those monitoring the response to the Golden Seas.

“The concern here is we’ll have another major accident like the Selendang Ayu,” he said.

 

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