Tanker Nearly Runs Aground Outside Golden Gate

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 – updated: 10:20 am PST January 28, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO — An ocean-going oil tanker had a close call early Tuesday evening in the waters near the Golden Gate Bridge when its engines quit and the vessel nearly ran aground.

The Coast Guard says the tanker, the Overseas Clelimar, was leaving San Francisco Bay when its engines suddenly failed.

The tanker lost power around 5:30 p.m. near Point Diablo in the Marin Headlands just west of the bridge.

Home video of the ship shot by a KTVU viewer before the coast guard and the first tug boat arrived on the scene reveal just how close the ship came to shore before it dropped anchor and stabilized its position.

Officials say it may have been within five meters of running aground. Later in the video, the ship is seen regaining power as a tug boat helps back it away from the shore.

Other tugboats soon arrived on the scene to help secure the 741-foot tanker. Coast Guard officials say the ship was empty when it lost power and that there was no cargo on board as the tanker had already unloaded its oil at the Port of San Francisco. The only oil on the vessel was for its own propulsion.

Officials also say the ship did not hit anything. The Coast Guard held a press conference Tuesday evening to discuss the incident.

“Initial reports indicate no signs of pollution. We also are confident the vessel did not run aground,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Tom Cullen. “There is no indication again of loss of integrity of the hull. However the port has called an oil spill response to be on standby.”

The ship ended up regaining power and six tugs escorted it to Anchorage 9 inside the bay. It had been headed for Ecuador. So far, there is no word on why the ship lost power.

Officials say the ship’s crew was tested for alcohol and those tests came back negative.

Just over a year ago another ship ran into trouble in the bay. The Cosco Busan crashed into a Bay Bridge tower in November 2007, leading to a major oil spill and environmental catastrophe.

Copyright 2009 by KTVU.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

~ by fredfelleman on January 28, 2009.

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