Incapacitated Russian cargo ship Simushir towed to Prince Rupert
CBC News Posted: Oct 20, 2014 4:11 AM PT Last Updated: Oct 20, 2014 6:32 AM PT
An incapacitated Russian cargo ship is now in port in Prince Rupert on British Columbia's north coast, ending fears that the vessel, which lost power Thursday night, would drift ashore, hit rocks and spill hundreds of tonnes of fuel.
The Simushir was towed to port by a U.S.-based ocean-going tug, the Barbara Foss.
Engine repairs on the Simushir are expected to be completed within two days.
The Simushir lost power due to a mechanical failure late Thursday off Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, as it made its way from Everett in Washington state to Russia.
The Canadian Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid arrived on scene Friday night and started towing the disabled ship away from shore, but three attempts to keep a towline attached failed and the ship was adrift again for six hours Saturday daytime.
The Simushir, which is about 135 metres long, was carrying a range of hydrocarbons, mining materials and other related chemicals. That included 400 tons of bunker oil and 50 tons of diesel. The vessel is not a tanker but rather a cargo ship. In comparison, the tanker Exxon Valdez, spilled 35,000 metric tons of oil.
A spokesman for Russian shipping firm SASCO, the owners of the vessel, said it is carrying 298 containers of mining equipment in addition to heavy bunker fuel as well as diesel oil for the voyage.
Officials said the captain of the Simushir was reported injured and was evacuated by helicopter Friday afternoon to Sandspit on Haida Gwaii, but they were given no further medical details.
The Simushir is registered in Kholmsk, Russia, and owned by SASCO, also known as Sakhalin Shipping Company, according to the company's website. The SASCO website says the ship was built in the Netherlands in 1998.