SEATTLE (AP) _ The towline used to drag a crippled container ship into port snapped in a storm off Washington's coast, leaving the disabled vessel adrift in 15-foot seas Sunday.

The Greek-flagged Hyundai Seattle, operated by Hyundai America, was disabled off the Aleutians by an engine-room fire Dec. 9. The 27 crew members were rescued unharmed by the Coast Guard cutter Munro on Dec. 12.

The 797-foot ship was heading to Port Angeles, when a steel cable connecting it to a tugboat broke in heavy seas Saturday, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Mike McGahran said. The vessels were about 150 miles west of Cape Flattery, in Canadian waters.

When the towline snapped, it recoiled and hit the tugboat's chief mate, cutting his leg and breaking his collarbone. He was airlifted by the Canadian Coast Guard to Victoria General Hospital in British Columbia for treatment.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Chris Scarberry said the crew of the tug Smit Singapore had tried to reattach the towline Sunday, but poor weather prevented that. The crew would try again Monday if weather permits, he said.

The Hyundai Seattle had been scheduled to arrive in Port Angeles early Sunday for a Coast Guard inspection before heading to Seattle.