Sunday, December 30, 2012

HMCS Athabaskan - more detail comes out

With time more information keeps coming out on the HMCS Athabaskan tow.
I hear that Océan Delta had more than one breakdown in the Gulf, and that André H. had to recover the tow more than once.
I also hear that at one point Océan Delta was without power, and stopped dead. The Athabaskan however was still moving, and there was contact between the the two, resulting in some perforations of the Athabaskan's hull.and other damage.
Since I was not on the scene I can't describe these in any more detail, but, but a sleek hulled ship like a destroyer is going to move through the water pretty well, and the chances of it overtaking its towing tug would be a real risk, particularly if it did not have reliable power. The relatively fragile fabric of a destroyer is also not going to stand up too well to banging into anything, let alone a stationary tug.
The final parting of the tow line off Scatarie Island was especially dramatic, since it was not possible to reconnect the tow line directly from the tug. CBC News reported that a navy observer on the tug and a crew member from the tug, were lifted off by a Cormorant rescue helicopter and landed on Athabaskan to secure the tow line. All this in the teeth of a gale, in the winter North Atlantic!
Now I hear that the contract with Groupe Océan has been terminated, and that another company will be given the task of completing the tow to Halifax.
There will be more to follow on this potential cause célèbre. 

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