Kirby Tug Leaking Fuel After Running Aground in British Columbia

uh oh…somebody fell asleep

Kirby Tug Leaking Fuel After Running Aground in British Columbia

October 13, 2016 by Mike Schuler


nathan-e-stewart-response-operations

An American tugboat pushing an empty petroleum barge has run aground and is leaking fuel near Bella Bella located on B.C.’s remote central coast.

The tug, Nathan E. Stewart, belonging to Houston-based Kirby Corporation, ran aground just after 1 a.m. Thursday on a reef at the entrance to Sea Forth Channel on Athlone Island… The tug later sank at about 9:50 a.m.

According to the local Heiltsuk Tribal Council, the tug was believed to be carrying about 60,000 gallons of fuel on board, and three of its tanks have been breached.

The 287-foot long barge, DBL 55, is not loaded with any cargo.

All seven of the tugboats crew members have been rescued safely.

The articulated tug and barge (ATB) was sailing southbound from Ketchikan, Alaska to Vancouver when the incident occurred.

Photos from the scene show a heavy sheen of oil in the water surrounding ATB with no signs of boom placed around vessels.

From the looks of this, they ran aground and ripped a shaft out. Not much you can do after that happens except get on the barge.

here is a photo showing the tug still connected but submerged

Looks like not even enough Boom initially?

Damn. Did they make sure to think real hard and call the office before doing that?

If they drop a shaft the flange should keep it from sliding through the stuffing box. These tugs don’t have a Johnson bladder or some other arrangements to seal up the shaft? What about an emergency portable 2-3 inch diesel pump to dewater or at least keep pace with flooding? Is this a case of the company would rather just let it sink and collect insurance for a new or refurbed boat?

Sometimes I wonder if ITB is still better than ATB when it comes to minor accidents where the tug springs a leak. Of course, when the barge goes, so will the tug…

http://www.hs.fi/webkuva/taysi/1920/1305757149647?ts=42

Bad place to have a spill. One of many choke points on the Inside Passage. Lots of tidal current. Lots of rocks and small islands just to the North, hence lots of intricate coast line to attempt to clean-up. Which won’t happen because we have a series of storms blowing through right now. I hope this screw-up doesn’t complicate, in a regulatory sense, the passage of mariners through this area in the future. Interested to hear how they managed to run aground. The area requires attention, but it’s no more or less difficult to navigate as dozens of other places in BC.

[QUOTE=freighterman;191493]Bad place to have a spill. One of many choke points on the Inside Passage. Lots of tidal current. Lots of rocks and small islands just to the North, hence lots of intricate coast line to attempt to clean-up. Which won’t happen because we have a series of storms blowing through right now. I hope this screw-up doesn’t complicate, in a regulatory sense, the passage of mariners through this area in the future. Interested to hear how they managed to run aground. The area requires attention, but it’s no more or less difficult to navigate as dozens of other places in BC.[/QUOTE]

I thought the exact same thing about the innocent passage and watchkeeping requirements. if Canada hasn’t mandated 4 on and 8 off for watchstanders in their waters, they will now…pilotage for bridge officers could become another thorny issue

it is good that the spill is only diesel and not black oil and that the weather will dissipate any of the diesel quickly before it causes any measurable damage

that this happened at 0100 says that someone nodded off and didn’t have a watchpartner to wake him the fuck up

…and this only six months after Brusco piled up at about the same time of day in johnstone straits…

[QUOTE=c.captain;191496]that this happened at 0100 says that someone nodded off and didn’t have a watchpartner to wake him the fuck up[/QUOTE]
…Or that he or she was locked in an argument with an ex-spouse and thus missed a turn, which, if I recall, was the likely reason the Queen of the North ran aground.

Someone in a position to know, told me yesterday that Kirby has been banned from BC’s waters.

According to the news Kirby has paid $250’000 and apologized to the local first nation in anticipation that their clam harvest will be affected. Environment Canada has closed the clam beds. Our Premier is expressing her anger and frustration to Ottawa. She’s pissed. Kirby says they won’t investigate the cause until the spill is contained. The Nathen E. Stewart is completely under water now, and half of the diesel on board has been recovered.

I get the feeling that our local tug and barge people see it as an opportunity to get some of the work that Kirby had been doing, but at the same time they are plenty busy in the southern part of the province.

Kirby isn’t banned their waivers to operate tank barges through the inside passage of Canada have been pulled and if they choose to take the inside route they will need 2 Canadian pilots on board the tug is what I read.

[QUOTE=rshrew;191777]Kirby isn’t banned their waivers to operate tank barges through the inside passage of Canada have been pulled and if they choose to take the inside route they will need 2 Canadian pilots on board the tug is what I read.[/QUOTE]

That would increase the odds of someone being awake on the bridge.

[QUOTE=rshrew;191777]Kirby isn’t banned their waivers to operate tank barges through the inside passage of Canada have been pulled and if they choose to take the inside route they will need 2 Canadian pilots on board the tug is what I read.[/QUOTE]

Does that mean that pilotage for foreign vessels are not compulsory when sailing the inside passage, or is this a privilege for US flag vessel? (Or only tugs??)

[QUOTE=ombugge;191785]Does that mean that pilotage for foreign vessels are not compulsory when sailing the inside passage, or is this a privilege for US flag vessel? (Or only tugs??)[/QUOTE]
I forget the tonnage limit, but U.S. vessels transiting the Inside Passage on innocent passage can get a waiver for pilotage, if they apply to the BC Pacific Pilotage Authority. It’s done yearly. You send a list of your deck officers, and copies of their current licenses, with a cover letter attesting they are all experienced on the Inside passage. The PPA sends you a letter back saying you are good to go for the year. No testing, no fees.
The company I work for just got notified this week by the PPA that we needed to contact them and certify AGAIN that all our deck officers had the required experienced as spelled out in Canadian regulations. I’m sure everyone else the gets the waiver was contacted also. This obviously was a result of the the Nathan Stewart grounding. If that is all that results from the grounding in regards to U.S. vessels transiting Canadian waters I’ll be grateful.

I should point out to those who haven’t been on the Inside Passage that grounding is not unusual. The way I explain it to new people is that you have two depths on the Inside Passage: 300 feet, or hole in the bottom of the boat. No transition. Solid granite coastline, not a speck of sand or mud to be found. But usually when you ground on the Inside little or no oil leaks as a result, and the Canadian Coast Guard is much more forgiving than the USCG when it comes to the grounding itself. But like everyplace else, leak a lot of oil and it is another story altogether.

If by “grounding” you mean “only the top of the mast is above the water,” or “the only part of her that floats is the fuel.”

[QUOTE=freighterman;191787][I][B]I forget the tonnage limit, but U.S. vessels transiting the Inside Passage on innocent passage can get a waiver for pilotage[/B][/I], if they apply to the BC Pacific Pilotage Authority. It’s done yearly. You send a list of your deck officers, and copies of their current licenses, with a cover letter attesting they are all experienced on the Inside passage. The PPA sends you a letter back saying you are good to go for the year. No testing, no fees.
The company I work for just got notified this week by the PPA that we needed to contact them and certify AGAIN that all our deck officers had the required experienced as spelled out in Canadian regulations. I’m sure everyone else the gets the waiver was contacted also. This obviously was a result of the the Nathan Stewart grounding. If that is all that results from the grounding in regards to U.S. vessels transiting Canadian waters I’ll be grateful.

I should point out to those who haven’t been on the Inside Passage that grounding is not unusual. The way I explain it to new people is that you have two depths on the Inside Passage: 300 feet, or hole in the bottom of the boat. No transition. Solid granite coastline, not a speck of sand or mud to be found. But usually when you ground on the Inside little or no oil leaks as a result, and the Canadian Coast Guard is much more forgiving than the USCG when it comes to the grounding itself. But like everyplace else, leak a lot of oil and it is another story altogether.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for your info.
I found this article, which appears to say the limit for tankers are 40000 DWT and that all tanker ATBs are below that limit: http://www.watershedsentinel.ca/content/tanker-barges-bc-coast

I have never sailed the BC Inland Passage, but I believe it is not unlike the passage along the Norwegian west coast, where pilotage is compulsory for vessel exceeding 70 m. LOA: http://www.kystverket.no/en/EN_Maritime-Services/Pilot-Services/Compulsory-pilotage/

Unless the Master and Officers are granted exemptions after passing a test: http://www.kystverket.no/en/EN_Maritime-Services/Pilot-Exemption-Certificate/

Spoke too soon about dodging new Canadian regs RE; innocent passage on the Inside Passage. Canadian Pacific Pilotage Authority announced new regs today, effective immediately. While not draconian they are yet another set of “things” for masters to observe. The one that sticks out is emailing the PPA before entering pilotage areas.

Looks like this grounding has started a discussion re: tanker safety and escort tugs in BC waters: https://www.workboat.com/blogs/maritime-matters/39943-2/
This fits in nicely with other threads were escort tugs are the subject of discussion right now.