Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ocean Uannaq sinks

The small tug Océan Uannaq sank April 1 while working on the Champlain bridge project in Montreal. The multi-year, multi-million dollar project to replace the span across the St.Lawrence River is using a number of tugs and barges to excavate for and build new foundations. The fast flowing river, particularly in the spring, can be a dangerous place to work.

Océan Uannaq at hull speed during a break from dredging operations.

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident which was not publicized initially.  The tug is resting on the bottom, and so far has not spilled any of its fuel or oil. Once the investigation is complete, the tug will be raised. The two crew members scrambled to safety aboard another tug.

Ocean Uannaq and sister tug Ocean Nigiq were built in 2008 by Groupe Océan to work at the Baffinland Iron port project in Milne Inlet (their names are Inuk for northwest wind and southwest wind). They were transported to Baffin Island in the barges Mary River and  Milne Inlet and worked on construction of the port. The twin screw tugs develop 770 bhp.

 The sister tugs working off St-Joseph-de-la-Rive last June.

On completion of that part of the project Groupe Océan brought the tugs back to Quebec and assigned them to their dredging fleet to handle spoil barges. They have worked up and down the St.Lawrence in recent years, with the dredge Océan Basque 2 and the scows Maxim D and Dominic TD. The scows have stern notches and connect to the tugs with a combination of face wires and bow tethers.

Océan Uannaq transferred to the Champlain project last year and has been working there all winter. Groupe Océan has a large fleet of small tugs,workboats  and barges that they rent out bareboat to construciotn companies, and it seems that the tug was working for a contractor at the time of the sinking.


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