A press release issued by the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre has confirmed that a Russian container ship that lost power on late Thursday night, and floated to almost 16 km off the B.C. coast, is now being towed away from shore. The agency revealed that the vessel is carrying hydro carbon and mining materials, including approximately 400 metric tonnes of bunker fuel and 50 metric tonnes of diesel.
During an interview on Saturday, it was updated that the Canadian Coast Guard vessel, Gordon Reid, reached the ship, Simushir, at around 6:30 (PT) on Friday and was towing it in a westerly direction. Acting Sub.-Lt., Ron MacDougall, mentioned during the press conference that the ship is now 18 nautical miles away from the coast but failed to confirm where the ship is being towed to. Furthermore, it was added that two other ships, the Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and a U.S. tugboat, Barbara Foss, are scheduled to meet Simushir on Saturday afternoon and “the main priority is to get it away from land as soon as possible.”
Upon hearing for the first time about a stranded, fuel-carrying ship drifting off the B.C. coast, Haida Nation President Peter Lantin was concerned about it hitting the ground and causing an oil spill. However, Lantin assured on Friday night that “we are very relieved to hear the news,” explaining that “I don’t think anyone was expecting the rescue vessel would have the capacity to do that, but now that the rescue vessel has a line on it, we are relieved it’s moving westward away from the island.”
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