Larger tug to be used to shift grounded ship

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - COMMUNITY LISTINGS / NEWS -

SYD­NEY , N.S. — A tanker re­mains grounded on the sandy bot­tom of a Cape Bre­ton bay, as a sal­vage com­pany read­ies a more pow­er­ful tug af­ter a failed at­tempt to dis­lodge the boat Tues­day night.

The bid to re­float and tow the Arca 1 re­sulted in only mi­nor move­ments to­wards deeper wa­ter, Olous Boag, vice pres­i­dent of Mck­eil Ma­rine, said Wed­nes­day.

Boag said the tow was called off shortly af­ter high tide, and it was de­ter­mined the larger tug Tim Mck­eil would be re­quired.

He said in an in­ter­view the com­pany had hoped that by pumping out the 300 tonnes of bal­last wa­ter from the tanker, it would have per­mit­ted a smaller tug to pull the ves­sel off the sand north of Syd­ney Mines, N.S.

How­ever, dif­fi­cul­ties break­ing through a half me­tre of ice to in­stall por­ta­ble pumps to re­move bal­last wa­ter caused slow­downs — and it turned out ad­di­tional por­ta­ble pumps will be needed to fully empty the tanks be­tween low and high tides.

Only about half of the bal­last wa­ter was pumped off in the first at­tempt.

“It turns out we need the larger horse­power and ad­di­tional pumps,” said Boag.

The sal­vage ex­ec­u­tive says the firm re­mains op­ti­mistic the tanker can be moved in a few days, but it will re­quire bring­ing in ad­di­tional steel wire and float­ing rope be­cause the more pow­er­ful tug must stay about a kilo­me­tre away from the grounded ves­sel.

Boag said the ves­sel is sit­ting in just 60 cen­time­tres of wa­ter. “At low wa­ter, you can al­most walk around the Arca,” he said.

There will be “challenges” in set­ting up the next tow­ing ef­fort, he said, in­clud­ing wors­en­ing weather and the freez­ing of bal­last wa­ter.

Tests will also be needed to en­sure the force of the tow doesn’t rip off the con­nec­tion points to the tanker, he added.

The pre­cise tim­ing of the next at­tempt to move the ship will de­pend on daily fore­casts and wind speeds, and the Cana­dian Coast Guard must ap­prove the plan, said Boag. Cana­dian Press

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