Friday, May 10, 2013

Bad Day in Newfoundland

The Transportation Safety Board is looking into two incidents in Newfoundland today, one involving loss of life.

1. Western Tugger recently photographed in St.John's by Clar Vautier. Photo used with permission.

The tug Western Tugger, bound from Sorel, QC to Long Harbour NL, was towing a barge loaded with 7,000 tonnes of reinforcing steel. While off Burgeo the barge capsized and one man on the tug's deck was struck by the tow line and sustained severe injuries from which he later died. This outcome is most regrettable, and reminds us all that working at sea is a dangerous job.
Western Tugger is operated by Midnight Marine Ltd (Miller Shipping) and is a veteran of many years standing. Built in 1943 as LT-643 for the United States Army, it is a product of  the Jakobson Shipyard in Oyster Bay shipyard in New York. It is single screw, with a GM Detroit EMD* installed in 1979, giving 1925 bhp. The Army kept the tug until 1973 when it became Taurus until 1990, when it was acquired by Gaelic Tugboat Co of Detroit, MI  and renamed Gaelic Challenge. In 1995 it was renamed Frankie D then in 1997 Dawson B before settling on the name Doug McKeil in 1998. McKeil Marine operated the tug until 2005 when it passed to Miller and became Western Tugger. It is still often employed by McKeil, but has also worked on the Nova Scotia/PEI gravel run and with pulpwood barges on the St.Lawrence.
At this time I do not know the name of the barge involved.
2. As Doug McKeil in Halifax. The elevated wheelhouse has since been lowered, no doubt to improve stability.

The other incident involved the supply/deck cargo vessel Anticosti. An engine room fire broke out on board and as I understand it, it was not possible to fight the fire with the resources available on the boat. It was while bringing it alongside for assistance from the fire department that it struck the pier very heavily, incurring as yet unknown damage.
1. The civilian Anticosti

 The ship was built in 1973 by Allied Shipbuilders in North Vancouver as Jean Tide for International Offshore Service (Liberia) an arm of P+O. They ran it only until 1975 when it went to Tidewater Marine of Liberia. In the late 1980s when the Royal Canadian Navy needed trials craft for the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel program, and reserve training, they acquired this ship and sister  Joyce Tide, which they renamed Anticosti and Moresby respectively, Pennant Numbers MA 110 and MA 111. When the MCMDVs were delivered the two were decommissioned in March 2000 and sold. Anticosti left Halifax in tow of Escort Protector (McKeil) December 10, 2001 for Clarenville, NL for new owners, Star Line Inc.and it was registered without change of name in 2002. Ownership has since passed to North Atlantic Corp (Cape Harrison Marine) of St.John's. The ship has been available for a variety offshore duties including research.
2. The military Anticosti.

* Corrected after initial posting.

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