Sunday, May 12, 2013

Western Tugger and Anticosti Updates

The recent capsize of a barge in tow of Western Tugger and the tragic loss of life of a crew man will result in a comprehensive study by the Transportation Safety Board. Although the Board sometimes releases preliminary information, it will be many months, if not years, before a final report is issued.
However this much is apparent. The barge, loaded with 7,000 tonnes of rebar capsized 70 miles off Burgeo in moderately rough weather. From Miller Shipping's excellent website, they have two barges, only one of which has a capacity of 7,000 tonnes.
The barge Arctic Lift 1 is the larger of their two barges and it had a previous capsize.
Built in 1972 by Equitable Equipment in Madisonville LA, as OC 300, it was acquired by Groupe Océan in the early 2000s, and was renamed OTM 3072.
On October 29, 2006 it capsized off Bas Caraquet NB while sheltering from high winds and in tow of Ocean Foxtrot. It carried a cargo of wood chips, loaded in Sheet Harbour, NS and destined for Cap-de-la-Madeleine, QC. The cargo and two excavators mounted on the load were lost, but the barge was towed, upside down, into Gaspé. It was anchored there and declared a total loss.
Miller Shipping bought the barge, righted it, repaired it and put it back in service. In 2008 they renamed it Arctic Lift 1. It has been in service ever since, carrying various loads, including trips to Baker Lake on Hudson Bay.
1. Barge Arctic Lift 1 in Miller ownership.

2. In tow of Point Halifax the barge is returning from Baker Lake on Hudson Bay.

The Transportation Safety Board report of the capsizing makes interesting reading, although little of it may be relevant in this incident.
Further investigation revealed loose manhole covers, hull cracks and possible overloading, and wetting of the load by rain were factors in the capsize.


According to news reports, the fire on Anticosti started in the crankcase area when the boat was being shifted by tug from refit to another pier. By the time the boat was alongside the fire had extinguished itself. There has been no update on the extent of damage from impact with the pier.


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