Tugs from Atlantic Towing Ltd, performed a double tethered escort exercise in Halifax harbour on April 23.
Halifax harbour pilots, the Atlantic Pilotage Authority and the container ship MOL Courage (90,634 deadweight / 9060 TEU) conducted the exercise as the container ship entered Halifax harbour without the use of the ship's rudder. Both tugs, Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Oak, were tethered to the ship with stern lines and in effect steered the ship following directions from the harbour pilot, via VHF radio.
The exercise was repeated on departure of the ship the next day, April 24. This time however the ship used the western channel, which required a coiuple of sharp turns.
The exercise was a trial to prepare for an emergency. If a large ship has a rudder failure, a single 5,000 bhp tug might not be sufficient to turn the ship, so a second tug would be needed.
Large container ships are now frequent visitors to Halifax, with 150,000 dwt and 15,000 TEU not uncommon. Generally such ships use one tug as tethered escort and one or two additional tugs for berthing, depending on conditions.