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For Actions on July 24, 1994

The 85-foot tugboat Pt. Milne was built by Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Washington, and delivered to Crowley Marine Tug in July 1982. Crowley Marine Tug became Crowley Maritime Services in 1992, and in 1994, Pt. Milne was a 12-year veteran of the company. It worked the waters of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and the Bering Strait. Operating Pt. Milne in 1994, was 36-year old tugboat captain Al Krininger, and a crew of eight. On July 24, 1994, Pt. Milne was towing a barge out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, when the crew received a general call over the radio from the All Alaska fish processing ship. All Alaska’s crew reported they were battling an onboard blaze. Krininger immediately changed course to assist.

The 340-foot factory ship, All Alaskan caught fire off the coast of Unimak Island, Alaska, while in route to Dutch Harbor. All Alaska carried 133 crewmembers, propane tanks, 55-gallon oil drums, 38,000 pounds of ammonia, and a hold filled with salmon. It took Pt. Milne 35 minutes to reach All Alaska after learning of the fire. On arrival, Pt. Milne’s crew found the vessel almost entirely engulfed in flames. Four to six foot swells and exploding oil drums rocked All Alaska while 45 crew members waited for rescue in protective suits on the burning vessel’s stern. The rest of All Alaska’s crew huddled in lifeboats.

Krininger nudged his tug against All Alaskan’s stern and his crew helped the 45 evacuees descend rope ladders to Pt. Milne’s deck. Flames and explosions continued to present mortal peril to all involved during the entire evacuation. Krininger proceeded to recover the survivors in lifeboats as soon as the 45 crewmembers were successfully aboard. The 85-foot tug delivered 132 survivors from the All Alaska to the fish processing vessel Independence. A deckhand from All Alaska died fighting the blaze and was the only life lost.

On October 28, 1994, the tugboat Pt. Milne received the Gallant Ship Award. Maritime Administrator Vice Admiral Albert J. Herberger, stated, “By placing themselves in harm’s way, the PT. MILNE crew saved the lives of 132 seafarers, showing once again, the mettle of our merchant marine.” Captain Al Krininger received the Meritorious Service Medal. Pt. Milne is still an active tug and now operates under the Argentinian flag. Its name is Papu Viento, or “Papuan Wind.”

Last updated: Wednesday, September 16, 2020