Storm Watch: Freighter Survives Hurricane

News Release:

NEW ORLEANS - An adrift 584-foot bulk freighter, the Antalina, weathered the worst conditions of Hurricane Ike and is awaiting a tow back to port from an ocean-going motor tug.

The Coast Guard confirmed at approximately 8:00 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12, 2008, that the heaviest winds of Hurricane Ike had passed the vessel and all 22 crewmembers onboard were reported to be in good health.  The vessel had drifted to a point approximately 170 miles southeast of Galveston.

The Rotterdam, a nearly 250-foot tug is reported to be enroute to the Antalina and is expected to rendevous with the Antalina at approximately 12:00 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008, and begin towing the vessel back to port.  A specific port of entry has not been determined at this time.

Watchstanders at the Eighth Coast Guard District command center maintained constant contact with the Antalina since the vessel radioed in at approximately 4:30 a.m., Friday, Sept. 12, 2008, stating they had lost main propulsion 90 miles southeast of Galveston.  At approximately 1:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12, 2008, Coast Guard and Air Force helicopter crews attempted to remove the 22 crewmembers from the vessel, but were unable to do so due to dangerous 80-knot winds and heavy seas.

"We're very pleased that the crew of the Antalina was able to ride out Hurricane Ike without injury," said Chief Petty Officer Mike O'Berry, assistant public affairs officer for the Eighth Coast Guard District.  "The rescue of these 22 crewmembers was one of our highest priorities, but now that we know they are safe, we can dedicate all our aircraft and resources to people along the Texas coast who may need rescuing after the Ike passes."