Al Grillo  /  AP
The tanker Seabulk Pride sits on a beach near a refinery in Nikiski, Alaska, on Thursday after it ran aground there.
updated 2/3/2006 2:00:51 PM ET 2006-02-03T19:00:51

Three tug boats helped pull a grounded fuel tanker off a beach on the Kenai Peninsula on Friday, one day after an ice floe pulled the tanker from its mooring and sent it adrift.

The refloating of the 575-foot Seabulk Pride took about 40 minutes, said Kip Knudson, a spokesman for Tesoro Alaska, which leases the ship. The refloating was timed to coincide with high tide in the Cook Inlet.

“We are pleased to say the ship is once again a ship rather than a beach ornament,” Knudson said, shortly after the ship was freed.

Knudson said the tugs pulled the tanker into deeper water where it was being inspected thoroughly, but there was no indication the ship had leaked any fuel while hard aground on the beach.

The tanker, loaded with 4.9 million gallons of gasoline and other petroleum products, ran aground Thursday. It spilled less than 100 gallons of cargo, officials said.

An ice floe struck the Seabulk Pride and caused its mooring line to break, state officials said. The tanker drifted nearly an hour before running aground a half-mile away, they said.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Steve Harrison said the ship made a soft landing, running aground on silt rather than rocks.

The accident happened as the double-hulled Seabulk was being pumped with cargo in the Cook Inlet port of Nikiski, 80 miles from Anchorage.

No injuries were reported among the 34 crew members.

The ship, built in 1998, has two hulls, a design that helps protect cargo and which became a standard feature after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster.

The Seabulk Pride has a capacity of 342,000 barrels of petroleum product, the equivalent of 14.4 million gallons.

Nikisiki is southwest of Anchorage on the Cook Inlet. The Exxon Valdez disaster happened southeast of Anchorage in Prince William Sound.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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