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Tanker stranded adrift off Haida Gwaii coast now in tow

Vessel carrying a full load of canola oil on its way to U.S.
The Atlantic Eagle aided the adrift Champion Concept until it could be transferred to a commercial towing vessel, which is taking it to the U.S. (File photo)

A tanker, carrying canola oil, became adrift off the North Coast of Haida Gwaii, after experiencing mechanical difficulties on Oct. 26, starting a three-day tow episode to obtain repairs.

“… the Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services received a report from the Champion Concept that they had lost propulsion approximately 260 nautical miles west of Langara Island. The ship was attempting repairs at sea and did not require assistance at that time,” Michelle Imbeau, communications advisor for the Canadian Coast Guard Fisheries and Oceans Canada, told The Haida Gwaii Observer.

However, the situation for the Norwegian-flagged ship, carrying a full load and a crew of 20 bound for China, changed quickly after repair attempts were unsuccessful. This prompted the captain to ask for a tow.

“There was also a weather system approaching, with a gale-force warning in effect, with seas building to five metres,” Imbeau said.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre tasked the Canadian coast guard’s emergency tow vessel, the Atlantic Eagle, which was about 550 km away to proceed and stand by the adrift tanker to ensure the safety of the vessel. The American commercial tow vessel, the Michele Foss, was dispatched from Seattle, Washington to come to the aid.

Due to the remote location of the container vessel and approaching weather system, the coast guard’s Atlantic Eagle further assisted with towing on Oct. 28 to reduce the distance and time frame to meet the Michele Foss. The container ship was transferred on Oct. 30.

The vessel is now in transit to Portland, Oregon.

 Norman Galimski | Journalist 
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 Norman Galimski | Journalist 
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