MV Selendang Ayu

MV Selendang Ayu

The M/V "Selendang Ayu" was a Malaysian cargo ship registered to the IMC Group. It was carrying a cargo of soybeans from Seattle, Washington to China when it ran aground off the coast of Unalaska Island in western Alaska's Aleutian Islands on December 8, 2004. This resulted in a large oil spill.

Two HH-60J Jayhawk helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard were involved in evacuating 18 of the ship's crewmembers, 9 to the Coast Guard cutter "Alex Haley". During attempts to save the last 8 crewmembers, Coast Guard CGNR 6020, an HH-60J from Air Station Kodiak was engulfed by a rogue wave that broke over the bow of the ship. When its engines flamed out from ingesting water, the Jayhawk crashed into the sea. Seven crew members from the ship had been hoisted into the aircraft. Another helicopter, the HH-65B Dolphin from the Coast Guard Cutter "Alex Haley" recovered the three-man Coast Guard crew and one of the crewmembers from the ship that had been on the aircraft. Later that night, the HH-65B returned to rescue the Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer and ship's master from the "Selendang Ayu", which had broken in half during their absence. This aircraft, CGNR 6513's crew would all be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for their actions. The Coast Guard searched for the remaining crew until their efforts were called off on December 10.

The ship had been carrying a significant amount of fuel, so there were fears that the "Selendang Ayu" could create the worst Alaskan oil spill since the "Exxon Valdez". One tank containing 40,131 gallons of fuel ruptured when the ship broke apart. It is estimated that 424,000 gallons of heavy bunker C fuel oil and 18,000 gallons of diesel fuel was onboard when she grounded. Ultimately, 350,000 gallons of bunker oil and diesel spilled, which is about 2.9% of the volume of crude oil spilled from the Exxon Valdez. The crew had transferred the fuel internal tanks when the ship foundered, and heaters were turned off so that the fuel would thicken in the cold waters. However, environmental officials estimate that up to 1.28 million liters of thick fuel oil (338,000 US gallons) leaked from the freighter. [ Canadian Broadcasting Centre News: “Alaskan oil spill 8 times worse than thought: official”] ]

The carcasses of over 1600 birds and 6 sea otters were recovered from beaches along the western shore of Unalaska Island after the spill. [ United States Coast Guard, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation: “M/V Selendang Ayu”] ]

A unified command structure was established for the oil spill response with three primary authorities in charge. The U.S. Coast Guard, The State of Alaska (DEC), and representatives of the "Selendang Ayu". The unified command followed the National Incident Management System/ Incident Command System (NIMS/ICS) as outlined in the National Contingency Plan. NIMS/ICS establishes a structure for responding to major events such as the massive oil spill resulting from the grounded tanker.


External links

* [ State of Alaska incident report]
* [ Crew describes rescue mission.] "Anchorage Daily News".
* [ More Oil Spilled than first estimated] "CBC"
* [ Maritimequest Selendang Ayu Photo Gallery]
* [ National Transportation Safety Board Report]

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