Saturday, March 30, 2024

MSC Sao Paulo V - update

 The container ship Sao Paulo V en route to Halifax in a dead ship tow of the tug Océan Taïga with Océan Raynald T on a stern line has put back to seek shelter. After clearing the Cabot Strait the tug's AIS signal showed progess along the coast past Chedabucto Bay and Cape Canso, and perhaps as far south as Country Harbour. Then, due to an intense weather system, the whole tow came about and returned to the area off Sydney Bight where it is standing off in the lee of high land.

Océan Taïga and sister Océan Tundra are 8,000 bhp, 100 tonne bollard pull arctic class tugs. 

The Océan Taïga and its sister are the most powerful tugs on the St.Lawrence River, but are essentially large harbour and escort tugs. Every summer they work in the high arctic at the Baffinland Iron Mines Corp's Milne Inlet port and travel independantly to Baffin Island and back. However even with that power, trying to tow a fully laden and powerless container ship in severe weather was probably beyond its ability. The Océan Raynald T is a harbour tug, so it was wise to seek shelter under the circumstances

 There is now no ETA for Halifax, but when the weather eases and the effects of the system pass, the tow will need at least two days to reach Halifax.

The MSC Sao Paulo V was en route from Montreal to Sines, Portugal on March 3 when it suffered an engine room fire. (see previous posts). When the fire was finally extinguished the ship was towed to Quebec City for survey. Meanwhile the large ocean going tug ALP Sweeper was dispatched from Portugal. It arrived in Halifax on March 26 and it standing by to tow the ship to Europe.


According to reports there was no damage to the ship's cargo but the accommodation may have been burned out. It is expected that the ship will be towed to Portugal, but it may be partially or fully offloaded here first for safety and stability reasons.


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