Fire Sets Container Ship Adrift in Santa Barbara Channel

The S.S. President Eisenhower, pictured here off Tokyo, lost engine power in a fire off Gaviota and was towed back to Los Angeles Harbor. | Credit: Bridge Valley / MarineTraffic.com

An engine fire early this morning aboard the U.S. container ship President Eisenhower set the boat adrift about 24 miles off the Gaviota Coast. Coast Guard cutter Blacktip is on the scene with the Eisenhower, whose crew put out the fire. No one was injured. A commercial tug is en route to tow the ship back to Los Angeles Harbor.

Coast Guard Lieutenant Tim Lae said the call came in around 3 a.m. that an engine fire had put the ship’s power plant out of commission. A Coast Guard helicopter and small boat rescue team responded immediately, and the 87-foot Blacktip out of Ventura soon followed. The ship is drifting in a northerly direction, away from the Channel Islands and their surrounding marine sanctuary, Lea said. Its destination had been the Port of Oakland.


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