July 24, 2006

Cargo ship taking on water in north Pacific

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The U.S. Coast Guard is
trying to rescue a crew of 23 people aboard a cargo ship taking
on water and listing severely in the north Pacific Ocean, the
agency said on Monday.

The Singapore-based Cougar Ace, a container ship carrying
cars, called for help late Sunday night, the Coast Guard said
in a news release.

"Our primary concern is to get the crew off of the ship,"
said Coast Guard Petty Officer Thomas McKenzie.

The Coast Guard and other vessels are focused on rescuing
the crew members, one of whom has a broken leg, the Coast Guard
said. The crew has been gathered at the ship's bridge and is
waiting for a rescue, according to McKenzie.

The ship is located 230 miles south of Alaska's Aleutian
Island chain. A Coast Guard cutter and a C-130 aircraft were on
the way to aid the Cougar Ace, the Coast Guard said.

The 654-foot (199.3-meter) ship is also carrying about 500
tons of heavy oil, some of which is leaking and leaving a
2-mile sheen behind the vessel, McKenzie said.