ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A crippled cargo ship carrying nearly a half million gallons of fuel oil was under tow toward a safe harbor Sunday, easing concerns the vessel could go aground in Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands.

The 738-foot Golden Seas with 20 crew members aboard was expected to reach Dutch Harbor, 275 miles away, early Tuesday, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Dana Warr said.

Initially the boat was estimated to arrive early today, but Warr said the tugboat captain decided to take a longer route south of the island chain to avoid rough seas and bad weather. The course change will add about 20 to 30 hours to the trip, Warr said.

The 18,000-horsepower Tor Viking II began its tow of the cargo ship late Saturday, a few hours after they rendezvoused in the Bering Sea, about 45 miles north of Atka Island.

Warr said the vessels were dealing with 20-foot waves but conditions were expected to improve over the next 24 hours.

The Coast Guard said fears that the ship would run aground had eased and it was in no immediate danger.

A Coast Guard cutter was en route and was expected to escort the vessels to Dutch Harbor, where the Golden Seas will undergo repairs.

The ship, with a full load of canola seed, developed engine troubles in strong winds and rough seas Friday that caused it to drift toward Atka Island, about 1,300 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The weather eased during the night and with limited engine power the ship was able to travel at about 3 to 4 mph away from land.