Update: Late on Friday night the Canadian Coast Guard patrol vessel Gordon Reid secured a tow line to the adrift Russian cargo ship, MV Simushir, west of Haida Gwaii. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfred Laurier attempted unsuccessfully to secure a line to the vessel on Saturday.
As of Saturday afternoon, the tug Barbara Foss has made up the tow “and is managing the situation” according to the Haida Nation. The two vessels are heading north at 5 knots.
The following video records a snapshot of the Barbara Foss’ tow operation and was shot at 1730 local time:
10 crewmembers remain onboard the Simushir.
The Canadian Coast Guard and commercial vessels are responding to an adrift cargo ship off the remote coast of British Columbia.
The Russian cargo ship MV Simushir is adrift west of Haida Gwaii, approximately 25 kilometers off Tasu Sound, and fears are that the ship may run aground, Canada’s CBC reports.
A Canadian Coast Guard helicopter has been dispatched to the scene to medevac the ship’s captain, who is injured, the report says. A coast guard ship and commercial tugboats are currently enroute to the scene but are not expected to arrive on scene for several hours.
A statement from the Council of the Haida Nation, the governing body of the Haida Gwaii archipelago, has issued an emergency alert fearing the worst, that the ship could hit the coast before help arrives.
“The Haida Nation’s worst fear is coming true,” said President of the Haida Nation kil tlaats ’gaa Peter Lantin. “Our priority is to minimize the impact on our homeland and get our people on-site to start dealing with the grounding. We’ll deal with the politics of the situation later.”
The ship is reportedly carrying 500 metric tonnes of bunker fuel and 60 metric tonnes of diesel.
The MV Simushir is believed to have lost power at 1:30 am Friday morning. Weather in the area is reported to be 35 to 45 km/h winds and swells up to 4.5 meters. By 7:30 a.m. local time, the ship was drifting 12 miles off the coast of Gowgaim Bay, according to the Council of Haida Nation’s alert.
Andrew Merilees, Mayor of the Village of Masset, tweeted earlier Friday that estimates indicate that the MV Simushir will run aground this evening around 9 p.m. between Tasu Sound and Englefield Bay.
The ship was en route from Washington State to Russia when it lost power, according to the CBC.
Updates from the CBC can be found HERE.