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Thread: Another tug barge in trouble

  1. #1
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    Default Another tug barge in trouble

    http://www.terracestandard.com/news/...r-bella-bella/

    A commercial tug, the Gulf Cajun, has arrived and is hooking up a tow line to the stranded fuel barge off the coast of Bella Bella.On Sunday night, a fuel barge carrying millions of litres of fuel and was in distress in rough water with gale force winds, but the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria said this morning that winds decreased overnight to 20 knots, but the seas remain at two metres.
    The 420-foot fuel barge Jake Shearer broke free from its tug about 45 kilometres southwest of Bella Bella. It was carrying 3.4 million litres of diesel and 468,000 litres of gasoline.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    And the natives are tired of waiting for Trudeau's 'world class' spill response promises: https://www.nationalobserver.com/201...arine-response
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    ^^^ Seems that Stephen Harper had 9 years to disable any environmental protection in Canada. Trudeau has only had 2 years to build them back.

    We'll be doing the same after 2020.
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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    C'mon, guys; read the article fully before apportioning blame, OK? From the article:

    "B.C. Spill Response posted on social media that there are no reports of a spill, though it is preparing to respond."

    "The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Gordon Reid was deployed and the Cape St. James was en route. Three other tugboats that were nearby have also offered assistance..."

    "Asked about potential oil spill response resources, Moores said the Coast Guard is setting up a response centre. 'We’re dispatching five vessels from Prince Rupert: the Eagle Bay, the Gill Sentinal, the Kaien Sentinal, one workboat and one booms kit,' said Michael Lowry, communications for Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation."

    “We’re also dispatching a vessel from Vancouver Island to Port Hardy, just so there are four positions just in case there ends up being an incident. At this point as far as I know, the vessel is anchored so at this point we’re just being precautionary.”


    Seems like a pretty robust response to a potential spill.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    The only problem with "world class, state of the art" oil spill response is that it is just about useless, as everyone noticed when BP's oil well blew out in the Gulf of Mexico. Spill recovery technology hasn't changed much since before the Exxon Valdez. At least this stuff is refined, not crude, so it is not as persistent in the environment. If it does spill, it will only be around for decades, instead of forever.

    If the weather is nasty enough to separate a barge from its tug, how much use is a boom going to be?

    And Prince Rupert and Port Hardy are both over 120 miles away by sea. Not super quick response, if there was a spill. Good thing they are being proactive.
    Last edited by robm; 11-27-2017 at 02:57 PM.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Update, the barge is reported to be under control . http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...ella-1.4421347
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    I was following this on the CBC. Sounds as if everything went well. The barge broke loose, but got anchored. The Coast Guard stood by while another tug came to collect the barge. No spill of any kind.
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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    "If the weather is nasty enough to separate a barge from its tug, how much use is a boom going to be?"

    If deployed in waves that are not breaking, surprisingly good. The barge breaks its tow because of its surging due to wave action, the floating boom contours to the waves.

    "And Prince Rupert and Port Hardy are both over 120 miles away by sea. Not super quick response, if there was a spill."

    How much of an increase in Coast Guard budget - and in your taxes - are you willing to support in order to have a greater Coast Guard presence on the coast?
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Cheap at the price for effective oil spill response. 120 miles + is at least 5 - 6 hours, in good weather. Maybe we should be finding a way to charge the potential users of this service for the costs. There are very few fuel barges in these waters now. Some small local stuff for coastal communities like Bella Bella, that is about it. Not sure about Prince Rupert, they are probably getting fuel by road and rail now. This stuff is going to Alaska, and BC and Canada do not benefit one bit. Do the American shipping companies pay anything for passage, or kick into the operating costs of the spill response company? Other than reciprocal cooperation with the US Coast Guard, what does Canada get out of this?

    Same argument as the pipelines: we take the risk, someone else gets the benefit.

    Some good stuff here on the local spill response organization:
    http://wcmrc.com/wp-content/uploads/...2017-WCMRC.pdf

    They have a bunch of vessels, maybe they should work on their distribution a bit better. 6 hour response meets their requirements, but that is not very reassuring.
    Last edited by robm; 11-28-2017 at 02:26 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    I'd imagine the Heiltsuk Nation, that had their little world ruined by the relatively small leak from the Nathan E Stewart a little over year ago would think it's worth spending the money. More coast guard and environmental response would be something I would rather see us spend our money on rather that trying to equip the air force with the deadliest aircraft they can buy.

    https://www.desmog.ca/2017/09/01/why...spill-response

    On Oct. 13, 2016, shortly after 1 a.m., Kirby Corporation’s tug the Nathan E. Stewart and its barge ran aground in the heart of Heiltsuk territory.Less than eight hours later it had sunk, and 110,000 litres of diesel fuel and 2,000 litres of lubricants, heavy oils, other pollutants were released into the surrounding waters.
    On charts, the area northwest of Bella Bella is known as Gale Passage, but to our people, this is Q’vqvai.
    For millennia, it has been the site of one our ancient tribal groups, the Q́vqvaitx̌v; a home to ceremonial practices (past and present); and one of our richest harvest grounds. Until diesel saturated these shellfish beds last fall, our people harvested at least 25 food species from the area, including the red sea urchins, sea cucumber, herring roe, rockfish, halibut, and clams.
    Despite deploying first responders as soon as possible, our people were helpless to stop the spill.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    I happen to agree with you, JimD, about spending more money on Coast Guard ships & infrastructure, but I had to ask the question. Can we get the USA to pay passage fees? Highly unlikely. I also believe that what you are seeing in the Inside Passage is but a small precursor to what will go on in the arctic when (not if) commercial traffic starts using the North West Passage as a regular shipping route. The fact that our governments (past & present) commission warships and Coast Guard ships to be built that are not adequately, or at all, ice-classed is, I believe, damned near criminal. But I also suspect that I will be dead and mouldering in my grave long before any significant change to this situation is implemented. The current national shipbuilding strategy is laughably inept.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Beats me why tugs and barges are used. These, like Thames Fisher http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/...:THAMES_FISHER would be far less risky.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Same with anything else in the commercial world, Nick - cost. If you detach the cargo-carrying bit from the make-it-go bit, you can park the barge for load/unload/standby while the tug bit goes out and makes money doing other stuff. Also, in some northern communities (I believe) the fuel barge also serves as the storage facility in the community so leaving a ship in port for four or six months would be prohibitively expensive.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Beats me why tugs and barges are used. These, like Thames Fisher http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/...:THAMES_FISHER would be far less risky.
    I'm not that well informed on the issue but I presume part of it is to save money, because it takes a smaller crew to man an articulated tug barge than a single ship of equal capacity. Also, there may be some legal rule skirting going on, as in a 450 foot long barge pushed by a tug is not in the same legal category as a 450 foot long ship.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    Also, in some northern communities (I believe) the fuel barge also serves as the storage facility in the community so leaving a ship in port for four or six months would be prohibitively expensive.
    This is the only reason that I find truly credible. The turnaround time for loading and unloading a clean products tanker of that small size is pretty minimal.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    JimD, do you know that it was an ATB? I thought it was a towed barge...
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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble


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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Raises big questions about why they separated.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  19. #19

    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    In rough weather the tug will need to get out of the notch and put the barge on a towline, the crime to me here is the tug didn't have redundant towing gear, probably either the bridle or the shock/snatch line parted, if it had the gear with 2 men already on the barge it would have been easy to mend the gear and take the barge back under tow.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Thanks for the clarification, robm.

    Chris is spot-on regarding why the tug de-coupled from the barge. The part about having men already on the barge with redundant gear available is a bit too speculative for ready answers, IMHO. I can think of several scenarios why it didn't happen, and a few do not have the ability to lay blame on anybody.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    From the cbc link above
    The captain in charge of the retrieval operation said heavy seas caused the massive barge to become disconnected from the tug that was pushing it. Large waves hit the port side of the vessel, decoupling the pins that connect the barge to the tug.He said the stormy conditions made it impossible to reconnect it to the tug, so a commercial seagoing vessel was called.
    "This was not a stranding. This was a decoupling of a barge. We now consider everything to be safe," said Captain Rich Softye.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith porter maine View Post
    In rough weather the tug will need to get out of the notch and put the barge on a towline, .
    Incredibly flakey way to run a business.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    There must have been men on the barge, as they got it anchored.

    One of the photos I linked to seems to show the tug/barge going under the Second Narrows Bridge in Vancouver. Perhaps heading to the Transmountain Pipeline/Kinder Morgan loading facility?

  24. #24

    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Incredibly flakey way to run a business.
    I agree, the tug can push the barge faster than it can tow it the difference can be surprising 2-4 knots even I'm still surprised at the lack of towing gear, when I worked tugs, a standard crew was 5, sometimes 6 if going on a long trip or doing something strenuous like running anchors for a pipe laying barge.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith porter maine View Post
    I agree, the tug can push the barge faster than it can tow it the difference can be surprising 2-4 knots even I'm still surprised at the lack of towing gear, when I worked tugs, a standard crew was 5, sometimes 6 if going on a long trip or doing something strenuous like running anchors for a pipe laying barge.
    Why can the barge/tug go faster when pushed than the tug/barge towed?
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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith porter maine View Post
    I agree, the tug can push the barge faster than it can tow it the difference can be surprising 2-4 knots even I'm still surprised at the lack of towing gear, when I worked tugs, a standard crew was 5, sometimes 6 if going on a long trip or doing something strenuous like running anchors for a pipe laying barge.
    It sounds as though there was inadequate voyage planing vis a vis weather forecasting as well.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    I can see where it would be difficult to re-engage the barge when the seas are rough enough to decouple it in the first place. But I think Nick is arguing against the use of an ATB at all, rather than decrying the seamanship and decisions of the crew on this one.

    Edit to add: No offense intended, Nick, but you are a very long way from the area involved, and possibly not aware of the vagaries of weather in a very mountainous area. Forecasts in that area change drastically in as little as two hours, according to friends who sail in the area. I am sure that some of our WA & BC forumites can attest to this better than I.
    Last edited by mmd; 11-28-2017 at 04:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    Why can the barge/tug go faster when pushed than the tug/barge towed?
    It acts as one ships worth of resistance rather than two shorter ships for a start. That is not even getting into tow hawser strength and behaviour.
    Last edited by Peerie Maa; 11-28-2017 at 04:42 PM.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  29. #29

    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcat View Post
    Why can the barge/tug go faster when pushed than the tug/barge towed?
    That's one for mmd or Andrew, I just know from experience that it can.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith porter maine View Post
    That's one for mmd or Andrew, I just know from experience that it can.
    Or Nick!

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    I can see where it would be difficult to re-engage the barge when the seas are rough enough to decouple it in the first place. But I think Nick is arguing against the use of an ATB at all, rather than decrying the seamanship and decisions of the crew on this one.
    No, providing all industry standard precautions are taken so that they do not get into weather where they are uncoupled in an unplanned uncontrolled manner that requires a salvage tug to prevent a pollution incident, I am not. However someone with that responsibility screwed up by having them set off into danger.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    I can see where it would be difficult to re-engage the barge when the seas are rough enough to decouple it in the first place. But I think Nick is arguing against the use of an ATB at all, rather than decrying the seamanship and decisions of the crew on this one.
    So I'm still a little confused by the terminology. This 'pusher tug' is pinned into the stern of the barge but not in the way an articulated system is set up? An articulated system does not allow the tug to 'pop out' of it pins the way a pusher system can, or something like that? I did a quick google on pusher systems and it seemed to suggest they are generally used in more benign conditions, such as canals and rivers. Does that seem about right?
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    When we pushed in the notch, we let out towline hooked to the barge so if we had to get out it was quick and easy.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    The US uses a lot of Integrated "Tug and Barge" ITB's including coastal/offshore work. They have gone this route because the barge part is cheaper than a ship of the same capacity, and the tug requires fewer crew. Some of these have a "tug" which by it's self is barely seaworthy...the tug does not operate without the barge, really, ever...., as far as I know. they do it because it is cheaper....period. Some ITB's are built separately so the tug may work independently from time to time, change barges, or have the option of disengaging and taking the barge in tow at times....such as heavy weather.

    As I understand it... in this case the barge broke adrift because they encountered some larger than usual wave action. I cannot speak with knowledge or authority, but I suspect the tug was not suited to towing, because reports only talked of attempts to reconnect, and they had to wait for another tug to take the barge in tow.

    I'd like to mention the two seafarers who re-boarded the barge in heavy seas/gale force winds, who were able to drop the barge anchor(s)...very impressive seamanship and courage. They certainly saved the environment. The barge would have drifted ashore very soon I thing but for their action.

    The HeiltsukFirst Nation were I believe, part of the decision making and solution in this case. All the involved Parties and Authorities worked well as far as I know. The response Organization...WCMRC were mobilized early on I believe

    It was tough and there was real and deep concern on the part of all...both in Industry and the Environmentalists' and Government....

    I personally get tired of some folks that spout conspiracy theories, and push uninformed misinterpretations of real information and/or intentional dis-information as some sort of immutable truth.
    Or they assume the Government or Industry are simply out to screw with the rest of us. Maybe they do in some cases...I don't know, but I am pretty familiar with this industry, and everyone I know takes their greater responsibilities seriously. I do not know about your neck of the woods but I do not know of any-one that does not care.

    Certainly a lot of tug/barge traffic moves through BC waters between Washington State and Alaska. Nearly all of it being tugs and barges....some towed and some pushed. My own personal opinion would be that this work would be safer on ships. Nobodies asking me.

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    Default Re: Another tug barge in trouble

    Chris has front-line experience with the mechanical niceties of an ATB, whereas my knowledge is more of a 'sit in the office and read tech papers on the critters' sort of experience. Well, that and a bit of sea time, too. Best to let Chris speak to how to hook into and out of an ATB.

    However, I will say, from the benefit of the knowledge gained by spending a few years engaged in blue-water commercial voyaging, that not every thing that goes wrong on a ship can be attributed to human error. Sometimes sh!t just happens.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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