Overseas Clelimar In Distress

This photo is the Overseas Clelimar after it lost control coming through the Golden Gate. The reports vary on whether or not it hit rocks. Here, well, it appears to have run right up onto one of the points in the Marin Headlands.


NB: There's just not enough contrast in the image to see how the bow of the ship and the point of land intersect. I've jumped up exposure and all on my local image to see if I can make out anything there and it's indistinct. A photo running on the news taken by a tourist on the beach seems to show the boat _just_ missing that point and actually wrapping around it a bit. It's hard to say. From my vantage point in the Presido, it looked like it made contact with land.


See also flickr.com/photos/x180/3232707723/ and flickr.com/photos/x180/3233557344/


Transponder data of the incident: www.boatingsf.com/ais_cleliamar.php (very cool!)


I had seen the boat trending to the coast a few minutes before this and was wondering what was going on. Then a biker came up and said he had saw it hit rocks out there in the bay as he rode across the Golden Gate bridge. The tug you see is the first one on the scene. Two more followed as well as a some other type (USCG?) official boat.


Unfortunately, the longest lens I had on me was 70mm (yes, I was kicking myself), so this is a pretty extreme crop of the total image. Also, the Sun had been down for a bit at this point, so everything was in shadow. It's not pretty, but it tells the story.

  • Michael Slater 7y

    Nice shot! I just posted an animation of the ships path. The tug that pulled the ship off was the Z Four, and then a slew of Coast Guard boats and tugs showed up.
  • Patrick Dirden PRO 7y

    To the starboard, Johnson....I mean port....oh crap!!! Thankfully, no injuries or spillage.
  • jonathancapt 7y

    The Z Four is awesome!
  • acekiller_97 7y

    Michael...the AIS data is pretty dynamic. Great job getting it up there so quickly.
  • trailer5 7y

    WTG Captain Hal !!! Incredible work.
  • Don Hall 7y

    Great photo of the ship and cliff. I'm betting that the tanker drifted aground before the tug pulled it to deeper water. Dropping anchor on a scoured bottom (a result of the swift tidal action under the bridge) would not provide the 'braking' the pilot was anticipating.

    Why was the tug 'escorting' the tanker to the bridge? That is not the usual procedure. Had the tanker experienced signs of trouble, and asked for assistance prior to the complete shut-down?

    It appears from tracking that the tug broke away just before the tanker went under the bridge, and the tanker lost power after just exiting the bridge, causing the tug to make an immediate u-turn to assist.

    Carl Nolte, Chron writer, praised the pilot, but the tug skipper was the hero.
  • Dan Hudson PRO 5y

    All hail Z Four!!!
  • dwmccloy 5y

    Interesting comments!
    To luelani: the ship did not ground and was confirmed by a divers inspection. She stopped 5 meters from the awash rocks. The anchor, if handled properly will hold as that is what stopped the ship from grounding. The tug was not escorting the ship. Luckily, the 4 was heading home after another job and raced to assist. The tanker did not have any signs of trouble prior to losing power.

    Many, many thanks to Hal and the crew of the Z4!

    I was the pilot on the Cleliamar.
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Taken on January 27, 2009
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