Jake Shearer (barge) separated from its tug near Goose Island


Fairly new Harley pin boat. I’ll be interested to hear the cause of the seperation.

It wasn’t designed or built in Norway…


isn’t there a Goose Island at the south end of the Houma Sanitation canal?

I am also curious to hear the cause of the tug being spit out of the notch. The Harley boats have the Articouple pin system. It appears to be a good system but from what ive seen its not as rigid as the Intercon system.

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The latest from the CBC:

Does anyone know if this is the same design as the Nathan E Stewart. Just curious if there are several versions of the pusher and if so how compatible they are and would compatibility be important at all. Sounds like here there was no chance to get back together for whatever reason

It isn’t the same design, there are at least a dozen ATB designs with more than one unit produced. The Nathan Stewart was a conversion from a conventional tug, this was a purpose built unit.

Nathan Stewart had JAK pins.

…The captain in charge of the retrieval operation, Capt. Rich Softye, said large waves hit the port side of the barge, decoupling the pins that connect it to the tug. He said the stormy conditions made it impossible to reconnect the barge to the tug, so a commercial seagoing vessel was called.
Source: link, link

Sounds like Jake Shearer has Articouple FRC coupling by Taisei Engineering

Nathan E Stewart had the JAK-400 coupler system by Beacon Finland

…maybe it is another case of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time (possibly with a wrong delivery schedule) :thinking:

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what I want to know is why they were outside as they were where there is no shelter at all? are loaded oil barges prohibited from using the inside route now since the NATHAN E. STEWART?

anyway, sounds like they got lucky this time that the barge didn’t end up on the rocks with its tanks ripped open

also why such a small tug to mate up with such a large barge? here is a photo of the boat

with such a low freeboard how do you get enough surface contact to really hold the tug and barge together?

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Professional Mariner did a piece on the Jake Shearer when she was a newbuild and went into some detail on their choice of the Taisei Articouple system. Here’s the full article: http://www.professionalmariner.com/American-Tugboat-Review-2015/First-ATB-for-Harley-Marine/

When I first read the article, this paragraph struck me as odd:

There is also a hawser kept along one side of the barge. If the sea state becomes so severe that the tug cannot comfortably stay in the notch, the hawser is set up so the tug can quickly move out of the notch and switch to the towing mode. Basile said that executing such a maneuver would be very rare and might never happen within the lifespan of the ATB, but the hawser is in place just in case.

It just seems like a fantasy that in seas so bad the tug is unable to hold the notch that the crew would be able to execute a safe breakaway while also rigging up a hawser, and then get the barge under control and following.


Judging by their proximity to the mainland it does look like they were transiting on the inside but got caught in the opening between the north end of Vancouver Island and Moresby Island. The scariest waves I ever encountered were in the Dixon Entrance in the next opening to the north.
Actually calling them waves is not quite accurate. The high winds were gone but the remnant swells from the storm in which 2 ships were lost were rising almost strait up as they reached shallower water near the coast.

There are various “inside” routes. A lot of traffic goes inside Calvert Island (seen on the map in post #11) which is FItzhugh Sound then Fisher Channel / Lama Pass/ then Napier Pass to Seaforth Channel. But Napier Pass is where Bella Bella is which I believe is where the Nathan E. Stewart hit a rock.

I’m aware of those as I’ve been through there. Evidently they decided not to go that way maybe to save time or they wouldn’t be in the news.

Something as idiotic like this would never have been built or approved for use in Norway.

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The report I saw was 38 km/hr 4.2 metes which is 20 kts and 14 foot seas. I don’t know what sea heights are considered acceptable for an ATB but if the thing is going to come apart in a 4 meters sea they need to stay away from Alaska.

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This forum would be sooo boring without constant Norwegian ridicule riling up foul mouthed grumpy old men with pointy sticks, sea lawyers and black gang malcontents.


to me going west of Calvert Island is not going on the inside. Hell, I don’t believe the Laredo/Principe Channel route to be on the inside. Inside is Fitzhugh Sound thru Lama Pass to Seaforth Channel to Milbanke Sound to Princess Royal Channel to Greenville Channel then up pass Prince Rupert onto Ketchikan. Other than that you are on the outside