Satellite Analysis Reveals Drama Of Wakashio Oil Tug Boat Sinking Overnight

Mauritius was is shock on Tuesday 1 September morning, with news of the sinking of a tug boat overnight that had been towing an oil barge from the Japanese bulk carrier Wakashio . Both had been involved in the salvage and oil containment operation surrounding the stricken bulk carrier, the Wakashio .

In a statement on 1 September from the hospital where several rescued crew members were being treated, the Mauritian Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, confirmed that there had been 8 crew on board the Sir Gaetan Duval tug boat. 4 had been rescued overnight, two deaths were confirmed, and two were still missing with sea and air search and rescue operations ongoing.

By my interpretation of the photos in the Forbes article the tug is possibly a Z-peller type harbour tug. They are normally limited to operating in a maximum of 2 metre sea state. The report says there was 5 metres and she was towing a barge. Not a good look.
It is something that I have been concerned about for some time.
The bean counters purchase a harbour tug without FiFi, with no onboard accommodation and in the case of my home port a battery operated tug. It will save the planet until a ship breaks down 50 miles from the harbour entrance and is drifting towards danger.
We had an incident where a very large bulk carrier had an engine breakdown and got within 200 metres of the beach before an AHTS, detached from the oil patch got to her and that is back before the “greens” got in the drivers seat and we had an oil patch.

From Marine Traffic:

No working AIS.

SIR GAETAN DUVAL (IMO: 9065340) is a tug that was built in 1993 (27 years ago) . It’s carrying capacity is 85 t DWT, gross tonnage 275 and her current draught is reported to be null meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 26.7 meters and her width is 10.06 meters. Builder: HUSUMER DOCK & REPARATUR - HUSUM, GERMANY.

A crew of 8 for such a small tug seems to be rather much or they had perhaps runners on board.

Here is the tug Sir Gaetan:

Was thinking along those same lines Hog, probably not the right vessel for that job or sea state based on the pictures, Glad there were some survivors.

It makes one wonder why the tug got so close to the barge in bad weather so that they could collide with one another. This small tug had a rather large complement of 8 crew members. I suggested earlier that that this could include a number of runners. The only thing that I can think of why they had to get so close to the barge is that they they tried either to bring runners on board the barge or take them off. However, it is not a maneuver that you would do under normal circumstances…

Panama blame the grounding on “Bad Seamanship”:

One more well known company in the shipping world are involved.
Crew management was by Anglo-Eastern in Hong Kong.