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UTV Seaspan Commodore

Gulf of Alaska | 1999-Feb-11

Initial Notification: Due to heavy seas on February 11, 1999, the F/B Seaspan Rigger, being pulled by the UTV Seaspan Commodore, lost her deck cargo of logs into the northeastern Gulf of Alaska (GOA) about 38 nautical miles (nm) west of Cape Spencer. On-scene conditions were 55-knot winds, 30-foot seas, snow, icing conditions, and 1/4 nm visibility. The quantity of logs was quite large-200 to 400 log bundles of 80 to 100 logs per bundle. The logs were 41 to 45 feet long and 4 to 15 inches in diameter; each bundle weighed approximate 27 tons. The USCG deemed these logs a hazard to navigation of TAPS tankers, container vessels, and maritime traffic in the GOA. Initially the logs were in MSO Juneau's zone and, along with the Seventeenth District Coast Guard Operations Center in Juneau, requested that NOAA provide weather forecasts and predict trajectories of the logs to monitor the position of the logs help their C-130 overflights. NOAA's initial report to the USCG was that the trajectory of the logs will continue west-southwest at 2% of the wind speed (0.5 knots) until they cross the 100-fathom curve where they will encounter the Alaska Current and begin moving in a west-northwest direction at approximately the same speed. Due to the severe weather, many of the log bundles broke apart making it very difficult for ships' radar to see this debris. The weather was not cooperative and overflights could be conducted only every 3 to 5 days. As location reports came in, they were forwarded to NOAA in Seattle who then used this information to provide a search location for the next overflight. The Alaska Stream occupies this portion of the GOA and moves from east to west and the logs were gradually dispersed and carried west-northwest toward the central GOA. As the logs moved west, MSO Valdez became involved in the tracking effort and served to coordinate information flowing to and from USCG Kodiak Air Station who was conducting the overflights. USCG district 17. Keyword: logs, navigation hazards.

Incident Details
Products of concern:bundles of logs
Latitude (approximate): 58° 0.18′ North
Longitude (approximate): 137° 37.74′ West