Near-accident on Christmas with gasoline tanker off New York

Dec 27, 1996 01:00 AM

Speedy work by the Coast Guard, the crew and a Staten Island towing company refloated a gasoline tanker that had grounded on treacherous shoals off New York on Christmas night. The storm-battered vessel tried to navigate a tiny inlet that had been lashed for days by a pre-Christmas storm. "It could have been very bad, but it wasn't. There was a lot of good work involved," said the Coast Guard An hour after nightfall, as many finished a day of feasting, the small oil tanker Reliable II heaved and pitched. East Rockaway Inlet is a keyhole in the South Shore of Long Island. Its channel is more narrow than the runways of Kennedy International Airport, lying just to the north. The approach lies at right angles to the open ocean. Storms force acres of sea bottom into the channel. "A little bit of sand in the bottom of the channel can make a difference," said Paul Eklof, vice president of Eklof Marine, owner of the Reliable II, which carried 1,500 barrels of gasoline bound for the tanks of Long Islandmotorists. Then the vessel slid softly into the bottom. The captain issued an alert. Eklof's duty officer dispatched a second tanker to unload and lighten the grounded vessel. The Coast Guard responded with a small craft from its station at Jones Beach.

Source: not available
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