Friday, September 27, 2019

Stephenville Tug Sinks

The Stephenville, Newfoundland based tug Omni St-Laurent sank at its berth September 23. There was no one aboard at the time, and so far there is no explanation for the incident. According reports the tug had 7,000 liters of fuel on board at the time, but there was a quick response to minimize any spill and formulate a plan to raise the tug.


Omni St-Laurent dates from 1957 when it was built by the famed P.K.Harris shipyard in Apppledore, North Devon, England. It featured the revolutionary patented hydroconic hull designed by Burnett Corliss Partners. The twin screw tug was powered by a pair of Lister Blackstone engines. It has combined mast and engine exhaust uptakes in lieu of the traditional funnel, a feature of many British tugs of the time.

Ordered by the Dover Harbour Board, and named Diligent, the tug served in the port of Dover, England until 1984. It went through a variety of owners during the next five years, such as Peane, Greenhithe, S+H, and Henderson of Stroud until it was acquired by Sorel Tugs Inc (les Remorqueurs de Sorel, Inc) in 1989.

It became Omni St-Laurent when it took up duties in Sorel, QC in late 1989. Groupe Océan acquired the Sorel operation and in 2010 they sold the tug to Harmon Marine Inc of Kippens, NL.

Omni St-Laurent at the Industrie Océan Shipyard, Ile-aux-Coudres. 
Note the hull form using simple hull plate shapes and hard chines.

The port of Stephenville, on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland,  (once known as Port Harmon) sees only about six ships a year, but recently there has been controversy that the tug's 1040 bhp is inadequate for larger ships that must turn in the Basin. Such large ships are rare, and the cost of bringing in a second tug from Nova Scotia could have a negative impact on harbour business. The port is part of the infrastructure of the huge Stephenville Air Base built for United States Air Force during World War II. Later known as Captain Ernest Harmon Air Force Base, it was part of the US/British "Destroyers for Bases Agreement". Newfoundland was still a British colony at the time and not part of Canada. In 1949 when Newfoundland did join Canadian Confederation the base remained de facto US territory. That ended in 1966 when the base was closed and transferred to the Canadian government, then to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Port itself was privatized in 2003 and its name changed from Port Harmon to the Port of Stephenville in 2016.


No comments:

Post a Comment