Emergency Response Tug Helping Escort Container Ship

Friday, February 08, 2008
The Gladiator, the state-funded seasonal emergency response tug stationed at Neah Bay, will help escort the 918-ft. container vessel APL Australia part way through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The container ship lost its secondary hydraulic steering system, but its primary steering system is functional. Due to high winds and other unfavorable sea and weather conditions, the Coast Guard today issued a Captain of the Port order requiring a tug escort for the container ship all the way to its destination in Seattle.

The Gladiator will meet the APL Australia near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and provide escort halfway to Port Angeles. A different tug will escort the ship into Seattle.

The APL Australia left Hong Kong on Jan. 28 and was slated to arrive at Terminal 5 in Elliott Bay Friday. Somewhere during its transit across the Pacific, the container ship lost its backup steering system. The state has contracted to station a standby emergency response tug at Neah Bay since spring 1999.

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