Coast Guard ship towing Russian vessel adrift off B.C. coast (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Dec 19 2017, 8:27 pm

UPDATE: The Canadian Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid has successfully extended a line to the Simushir. It is now towing the troubled Russian vessel away from the shore.

American, Canadian and provincial authorities are working around the clock to prevent a 135-metre long container vessel from hitting ground.

The operation is being organized from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Victoria after the Russian ship Simushir issued a distress call at 11:21 p.m. Thursday that it had lost power and was adrift off the western coast of Haida Gwaii.

According to the Council of the Haida Nation, the Canadian Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid arrived at the scene this afternoon, but it is having issues with extending a line to the vessel. A tugboat from Prince Rupert and the 83-metre long Canadian Coast Guard ship Sir Wilfred Laurier are expected to arrive at the scene by 1 a.m. Saturday.

The ship’s captain was airlifted out of the troubled vessel this morning after sustaining unknown injuries.

The Simushir was traveling from Everett, Washington to Russia and carrying a load that included mining minerals, 400 tonnes of bunker fuel and 50 tonnes of diesel fuel. It was built in the Netherlands in 1998 and possesses a deadweight tonnage of 9,405 tons.

Winds and high ocean swells pummelled the vessel beginning last night and continued into Friday when a new Pacific frontal system approached.

However, the risk of the vessel hitting ground and causing a potential environmental incident have temporarily decreased as the ship is now drifting away from shore due to unexpected easterly winds. The forecast calls for southeast winds of up to 50 knots (90 kmph) by Saturday morning.

The latest report by JRCC positions Simushir about 14.5 kilometres off Gowgaia Bay. There have been no fuel or cargo spills at this time.


Simushir 1
Image: Maritime Forces Pacific

Simushir 5
Image: Maritime Forces Pacific

Simushir 4
Image: Maritime Forces Pacific

Simushir 3
Image: Maritime Forces Pacific

Feature Image: Maritime Forces Pacific

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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