To the Editor,
There are those who complained that US Tugboat Barbara Foss had been dispatched from 675 kilometres away in Neah Bay, Washington, to tow the Russian MV Simushir, and asked why a tug was not available from Port Hardy or Prince Rupert. In fact, the tug was dispatched from Prince Rupert, where it had just delivered a barge towed from Whittier, Alaska; that route is the current regular employment of the tug.
This is not the only error surrounding the Russian container ship incident to air.
On Friday, Oct. 17, newspapers, radio, television and their websites reported verbatim from the Haida spokesman that the vessel would go aground at 9:30 p.m.; he even had a rocky bay on Haida Gwaii picked out for the disaster to occur. At the time of all these reports, the vessel was harmlessly drifting parallel to or away from shore due to the current, and at no time was closer to land than 12 nautical miles.
Canadian Coast Guard vessel Gordon Reid was tethered to the vessel about 18 hours after the initial breakdown, and larger Canadian and US Coast Guard vessels arrived on scene about that same time.
Sunday night the CTV National News anchor reported that the vessel had been towed safely to Prince Rupert after three days drifting off BC’s pristine coastline. The drift-time had suddenly quadrupled, but at least she added that all crew were safe.
My wife and I took a lot of interest in the incident, as we have more than 40 years ocean-going experience between us. We would suggest in our learned opinion, that the Canadian Coast Guard did a great job; yet readily acknowledge that more ocean-going tugs would be welcome.