"Arctic Shipping Is Disaster Waiting To Happen, Safety Group Warns"

"Ferrying a load of soybeans from Seattle to China in 2004, the engine of Malaysian freighter Selendang Ayu lost power and the vessel broke in half on rocks off Unalaska Island in the middle of the Alaskan archipelago."

"A ferocious Bering Sea storm thwarted rescue efforts, resulting in the loss of six crew members, and the vessel spilled 350,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil. The oozing fuel killed thousands of seabirds, closed local fishing and contaminated miles of shoreline -- all inside the sensitive habitat of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

On the eight anniversary of the spill, a coalition of shipping-safety and environmental organizations is calling for stationing ocean rescue tugs along the remote archipelago, continuous tracking of shipping traffic in the region and other improvements to avoid a similar disaster."

Kenneth R. Weiss reports for the Los Angeles Times December 10, 2012.

Source: LA Times, 12/11/2012