Canadian Manufacturing

Enviro disaster averted as Russian cargo ship towed to B.C. port

Disabled Russian ocean vessel Simushir was carrying hundreds of tonnes of bunker and diesel fuel



PRINCE RUPERT, B.C.—A Russian cargo ship that was adrift off the British Columbia coast after a power outage has docked.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority says the Simushir has been towed to the Fairview Container Terminal, and the vessel is expected to stay for 48 hours for repairs.

The container ship was en route to Russia from Washington state when it lost power on Thursday night west of the Haida Gwaii archipelago, off B.C.’s north coast.

A tug boat arrived Saturday night to tow the disabled ship to port, after a tow line from a Canadian Coast Guard ship snapped three times and set the Simushir adrift again.

The vessel was carrying hundreds of tonnes of bunker and diesel fuel, sparking concerns that if it drifts ashore, it could create an environmental disaster.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea commended rescuers for their quick response but area First Nations say the response wasn’t good enough, especially when oil and gas exports could see a significant rise in tanker traffic off the B.C. coast.

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