Rescue Tug Dispatched to Aid Cargo Ship

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
The rescue tug stationed at Neah Bay this weekend is assisting a cargo ship safely into Port Angeles and remains on standby while engine repairs are completed. The Cyprus-based Khorol was headed for the Puget Sound when it reported engine problems to Coast Guard Sector Seattle late Friday evening. The Coast Guard directed the 377-ft. long refrigerated cargo ship to stay offshore until the Gladiator, a rescue tug funded by the Washington Department of Ecology, could reach the ship to escort it into Port Angeles for engine repair.

Crews on the Khorol made emergency engine repairs at sea, but about three miles outside Port Angeles, the engine failed. The rescue tug, already escorting the ship, then brought it in to Port Angeles. The Gladiator will be on standby in the harbor until engine repairs on the cargo ship are completed. Ecology and the Coast Guard will oversee repairs before the ship is allowed to continue its journey. The agent for the Khorol has been attempting to find a relief tug since early Saturday, so the Gladiator can return to its regular duties at Neah Bay. This incident points out the need for high horsepower tugs to be available to assist ships with loss of power or other incidents that jeopardize the safety of the crew and the environment. The Coast Guard and Ecology work together to protect the waters of Washington state. Ecology oversees the rescue tug contract. Crowley Marine Services, based in Jacksonville, Fla., has been providing rescue tug service since Jan. 1, and will do so through this March or April. The state has stationed a standby tug at Neah Bay since the spring of 1999 to help assist disabled ships traveling off the coast and through the Strait of Juan de Fuca from drifting onto rocks and spilling oil. During this time, rescue tugs have come to the aid of 30 disabled ships. The tug protects a particularly vulnerable area of Washington's outer coast, which is environmentally sensitive and irreplaceable. State lawmakers provided Ecology $1.4 million with the goal of providing about 200 days of rescue tug service for the 2006-07 winter season.

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