November 15, 2018
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El Faro sister ship North Star loses power, drifts for hours

A sister ship of the cargo ship El Faro, which sank Oct. 1 during Hurricane Joaquin with a crew that included five Maine Maritime Academy graduates, spent hours on Tuesday adrift off the coast of Canada after the ship’s engine failed to restart.

The North Star, owned by TOTE Maritime, lost power Tuesday morning as it sailed from Anchorage, Alaska, to Tacoma, Washington, Canada’s CBC reported.

The Canadian government’s department of Fisheries and Oceans said that after the ship lost propulsion off Haida Gwaii, a group of islands off the coast of British Columbia, the CCGS Gordon Reid headed out to aid the ship. However, the crew of the North Star was able to restart the engine after fixing an electrical problem.

TOTE Maritime also owned El Faro, the cargo ship that sank off Crooked Island in the Bahamas after losing propulsion as it sailed from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto Rico.

Among 33 crew members lost aboard El Faro were five with Maine connections: 53-year-old Capt. Michael Davidson of Windham, a 1988 graduate of Maine Maritime; Michael Holland, 25, of Wilton, a 2012 graduate of Maine Maritime; Danielle Randolph, 34, also of Rockland and a 2004 graduate of Maine Maritime; and Dylan Meklin, 23, a 2010 graduate of Rockland District High School and a 2015 graduate of Maine Maritime. Another crew member, Mitchell Kuflik of Brooklyn, New York, graduated from Maine Maritime in 2011.

El Faro was due to be retrofitted this fall and then assume the company’s West Coast routes, a TOTE Maritime spokesman said in October. According to the company’s website, the North Star is due to be converted to natural gas beginning this fall.


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