Coast Guard suspends search for man missing from oil tanker south of Sand Point

The motor vessel Challenge Prelude is a 587-foot tanker. (Courtesy of Hans Rosenkranz/MarineTraffic.com)Update

Update: The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for a man who reportedly fell overboard from an oil tanker traveling past the Aleutian Islands.

Petty Officer Lauren Dean says air crews spent 14 hours searching for the 22-year-old mariner, who went missing from the M/V Challenge Prelude yesterday afternoon.

“Due to the length of time, and with the extreme environment, the District 17 Command Center made the call to suspend the search,” Dean said.

Coast Guard responders covered almost 700 square miles in their search, which began south of Sand Point.

Dean says the tanker also retraced part of its own route in an effort to locate the man, whose name has not been released.

“Situations like this are never easy,” Dean said. “Our deepest condolences do go out to his family and friends. It is a tragedy.”

The Challenge Prelude was traveling from South Korea to Anchorage when the man went missing. Dean says it’s unclear why he fell overboard.

ORIGINAL STORY: About 24 hours after he went missing from an oil tanker, the U.S. Coast Guard is deciding whether to continue its search for a man who reportedly fell overboard in Aleutian waters.

The master of the M/V Challenge Prelude noticed the 23-year-old mariner was missing Sunday afternoon when the vessel was 126 miles south of Sand Point.

The tanker turned around to search for the man, while Air Station Kodiak sent two aircrews to assist.

“The helicopter was able to do two flights and the C-130 flew for quite a long time along the vessel’s track line,” Lt. Brian Dykens said. “But we haven’t done any searches [on Monday], and the command center is planning the next course of action.”

Dykens said the Coast Guard will make a decision on the search Monday afternoon. There’s been no sign of the missing mariner, whose name hasn’t been released.

This story has been updated.