Three new updates:
1. The RCN held a press conference today in which they stated that an engineering team had been dispatched to North Sydney to assess the condition of the ship before it is towed on to Halifax.
They also said that weather would determine when the tow might take place.
2. But just to add to the litany of issues surrounding this incident word has reached me that the tow entered, departed and re-entered Sydney harbour without benefit of pilotage. This would certainly contravene the Pilotage Regulations, since Sydney harbour is a mandatory pilotage port.
There was an incident in Halifax a couple of years ago when a visiting French warship was advised by someone in the RCN that it did not require a civilian pilot because "we never use them". Canadian warships, under command of specially trained officers, are not required to employ a civilian pilot in Halifax and with certain specific qualifications (but foreign naval ships are required to.)
Canadian ships over 1,500 gross tons (except ferries on their normal routes, and some other minor exceptions) are required to have a pilot in compulsory pilotage areas. Canadian government ships are not required to have a pilot. I assume however that they mean that the ship is under command.
Exceptions to the pilotage Regulations can be made if the ship is in distress, if it is seeking refuge or if no pilot is available. However as I understand it the Atlantic Pilotage Authority must issue a waiver first.
An unmanned Canadian warship under tow would require a pilot in Sydney, if my reading of the regulations is correct, since it is over 1,500 tons.
3. The tugs Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Elm have arrived in Sydney, but apparently on spec. since the Department of Public Works and Government Services may have to re-tender the towing job. The Groupe Océan tugs Océan Delta and André H. have sailed and are on their way home.