On January 3, the Tug Pacific Avenger, while towing an oil barge loaded
with diesel fuel, experienced a reduction in steering while approximately 20 miles west of Cape Alava, Washington. As per established procedure, Tofino Traffic, Canada, who, as part of the Cooperative Vessel Traffic Service manages vessel traffic of the northern Washington Coast, notified the U.S. Coast Guard of the incident. Sea Coast Towing, the owner of the tug, reported that the Pacific Avenger had experienced a problem with its autopilot and rudder angle indicator – a device that shows the position of the rudder. Although propulsion and manual steering were not affected, Sea Coast Towing arranged for a tug escort by the Barbara Foss and return to port as a precaution. The Captain of the Port evaluated and approved this proposal and issued the vessel an Administrative Order to ensure all parties understood the necessary safety precautions. The Pacific Avenger is now inside the Strait of Juan de Fuca, proceeding under its own power, and has had no further problems. U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic
Service Puget Sound will monitor the vessel’s progress, and the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port will evaluate any necessary repairs before the vessel returns to sea.