All 28 Indians onboard malfunction cargo ship off Alaska safe


APJ Suryavir was coming from China and possibly headed towards Portland in the United States when the engine of this 740-foot almost empty bulk cargo freighter failed. What made the matter worse was the poor weather condition with stormy sea and winds blowing at a speed of 96 kph.
Currently it was reported to be south of the Aleutian Island Chain in Alaska.
"There are 28 persons on board. The entire crew is Indian. They are all safe as of now," Ray Dwyer, Command Duty Officer at Rescue Coordinator Center, US Coast Guard, Juneau, Alaska, said over phone.
"They have no cargo on board," he said, adding that this makes the ship imbalanced.
The coast guard received the emergency call from the ship about 11 a.m. Alaska time, he said, adding that they were in constant communication with the crew over satellite phone.
"Currently, we have one of our Coast Guard fixed wing C-130 on scene orbiting the area and they may be able to drop some provisions to them, because they complained of being a little low on food and water; although the ship company denied that claim," Dwyer said.

The ship company Apeejay Shipping Limited claims that there were plenty of provisions when the ship left China.
The Coast Guard cutter nearest to the cargo is expected to arrive on the scene in about two-and-half days.
Another Singaporean-flagged container vessel Mearsk Altair, a number of hour distant from Suryavir, has responded to the call of the Coast Guard and are heading towards the area.
"They will stand by the ship in case the situation worsens and assist if they can," he said.
However, Dwyer said, the Indian crew members have been advised not to risk shifting over to Mearsk Altair in this poor weather. The weather is expected to improve only after 24 hours at the earliest, he said.
"The weather is very poor in the area right now. They have 40 knots of wind and seas in the area are 24 feet. It is safer for everyone to remain on board the ship and wait for the weather to improve. It would be really dangerous for them to either get abroad another vessel or if they enter the water, it would be very difficult to rescue with people in the water in that weather," he said.

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