September 12, 2008

Coast Guard Unable to Rescue Tanker Crew

The U.S. Coast Guard was forced to abandon an attempt Friday afternoon to rescue the crew of a drifting Cypriot tanker in the Gulf of Mexico.

High seas, wind and bad visibility caused by Hurricane Ike forced rescue helicopters to land in Lake Charles, La., the Coast Guard said in a release.

The 584-foot tanker lost power about 90 miles south of Galveston. The Antalina, flagged in Cyprus, is carrying a crew of 22.

"Unfortunately there were 80-knot winds on scene, well beyond the operating conditions for the air crews to safely rescue the crew of the Antalina," said Rear Adm. Joel R. Whitehead, commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

Whitehead said that the Coast Guard would remain in contact with the crew during the storm.