Limited Availability of Tugs for Emergencies on Canada’s Pacific Coast – Marine Executive

Canada is not yet holding up it’s end of the bargain in support of emergency tugs. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

A research report on the Availability of Tugs of Opportunity in Canada’s Pacific Region published by Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping indicates that Canada’s West Coast faces gaps in the availability of commercial tugs to serve as emergency towing vessels for ships in distress. The existing emergency towing system is based on a small number of dedicated high-powered emergency towing vessels or ETVs supported by so-called tugs of opportunity or commercial tugs that are not dedicated to rescue services. Such tugs are occasionally contracted to provide aid in the event of a ship emergency due to loss of engine power, steering or other cause. (Marine Executive)

Limited Availability of Tugs for Emergencies on Canada’s Pacific Coast

Cargo Ship Loses Steering just west of Port Angeles. Towed safely to PA for repairs.

Another reason all our work on getting rescue tugs and others involved in the protection of the Strait was a good idea. This time the rescue tug was not needed, but another tug from PA came to the rescue. I’ll update this story if there is reason to.

A cargo ship lost steering off Port Angeles just after midnight Wednesday and was towed into the Port Angeles Harbor for repair. The state Department of Ecology received a report from the state Emergency Management Division that the Grand Quest lost steering 6 nautical miles northwest of Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca just after 12:15 a.m. The Grand Quest is a 587-foot Panama-flagged auto carrier that left Astoria, Ore., at 5:35 p.m. Tuesday, and was on its way to Tacoma, according to the ship’s GPS locator beacon. The Brian S., a Port Angeles-based tug, towed the ship to anchor in Port Angeles at about 3 a.m., said Petty Officer Katelyn Tyson, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

Cargo ship loses steering, towed to Port Angeles for repairs

Rescue tug assists fishing grounded fishing boat

I think this would have been an amazing experience. The winds were howling here at my home in Port Townsend, at least 40 MPH, and I’m sure higher in the Straits.

—————————–State-funded tug protects coast during overnight response

10/4 Ecology news release on tug assist at Strait of Juan de Fuca

OLYMPIA – The state-funded emergency tug responded overnight to a 100-foot fishing vessel that ran aground near Neah Bay.

The tug Hunter arrived on scene to assist the Misty Dawn which grounded itself at Baada Point near the southern entrance to Neah Bay. The Hunter checked the area but didn’t detect any fuel spilled to the water.

After the Misty Dawn crew verified its vessel’s steel hull was still intact and transferred fuel to other tanks to minimize any risk of a spill, the Hunter crew used a line to help pull the boat back into deeper waters. The Misty Dawn returned to port in Neah Bay after the incident.

The Misty Dawn had the potential to carry 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel although it is unclear exactly how much was onboard at the time of the grounding.

The Washington Department of Ecology received calls shortly after midnight Oct. 4 and coordinated response with the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard issued a captain-of-the-port order requiring the Misty Dawn prove its seaworthiness before it can leave the port.

A tug is now stationed at Neah Bay year-round to respond to incidents that pose a pollution threat to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Washington’s outer coast. Crowley Maritime holds the emergency response tug contract through June 2010.

In March, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill passed by the state legislature to require the maritime industry to fund a tug year-round at Neah Bay for situations like these. Previously, the state paid for a tug to be stationed there during in the winter months only.

This is the 43rd time a state-funded tug has been called out to a vessel in distress.

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