Crew repairs engines on freighter in N. Pacific

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The crew of a crippled freighter adrift in the North Pacific has repaired its engines and the vessel is on its way to Portland, Ore.

The Coast Guard said the crew of the India-flagged APG Suryavir informed them of the repairs this morning. A Coast Guard cutter and a private ship headed to the Suryavir about 540 miles southwest of Alaska’s Adak Island have been called off.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Walter Shinn said the Coast Guard will be in radio contact with the ship until it moors in Portland.

Shinn says no injuries were reported among the crew of 28, and the 740-foot bulk cargo ship never took on water. Waves were reported up to 30 feet with 50 mph winds while the ship was adrift.

Before it was called off, Coast Guard Petty Officer Jeff Roberto said, the “good Samaritan” Maersk Altair was expected to arrive late this morning to help with repairs and rescue the Suryavir’s 28 crew members if necessary.

“They had to reduce their speed because of the weather,” Roberto said of the Altair, which had been expected to arrive much earlier.

A Coast Guard C-130 overflew the stranded ship late Sunday and dropped a buoy to collect information on the currents and wind conditions.

Roberto said the stranded ship appeared to be withstanding the stormy weather.

He said the Coast Guard plane landed at Adak Island and was going to make another flight to the Suryavir this morning to more closely monitor the vessel.

“We’ve been in constant contact with the ship” via radio, Roberto said. No one aboard is injured and the craft is not taking on any water. The freighter has also been in contact with its company, and except for their experience in the heavy seas, everyone on board was fine, Roberto said.

The Suryavir ran into engine problems several days ago en route from China to the Columbia River, but the crew radioed for help late Sunday morning only when the weather turned bad. The Coast Guard said it’s not unusual for ship crews to fix their engines in calmer weather.

The vessel’s registered owner is Apeejay Shipping LTD. The company said this morning it is in constant contact with the crew, and the crew is safe and waiting for the weather to clear.

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