The Coast Guard is reporting that the container ship MSC Kim is adrift off Newfoundland, in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The Ship was bound for Montreal, and sailed from Halifax the night of the 5th.
According to Marinetraffic, the ship was making 20kn and then dropped to 1.5kn around 21:50utc on the 6th. The position again updated briefly on the 8th, with the reported speed less then 1kn. Its last reported position almost 48 hours ago was 48°25’24.7″N, 061°48’55.1″W, and the ship was reporting a navigation status of Not Under Command.
The CCGS Terry Fox is breaking ice in Stevenville NL, where the Atlantic Kingfisher is tied up, and will be responding to take the vessel in tow. MSC Kim was built in 2008, and is rated for 4254teu
UPDATES to Follow.
Update 02/09 22:34 with a more recent position. MSC Kim is drifting eastward towards Newfoundland in the wind. It is still 30nm West South West from the closest shore at Cape Saint George NL.
Atlantic Kingfisher is currently taking fuel from CCGS Terry Fox and is expected to Depart at 2300nl. Towing should begin in the morning. CCGS Jean Goodwill will also be responding.
UPDATE 02/09 2342: Atlantic Kingfisher is off the dock, and proceeding to MSC Kim with CCGS Terry Fox. MSC Kim is drifting east at 1.2kn
UPDATE 02/10 0700: Looks like Atlantic kingfisher has arrived at the MSC Kim. Overnight the MSC Kim drifted another 8nm east.
UPDATE 0809: now under tow. heading south.
UPDATE 1101: tow currently off Cape Anguille, NL and is bound for Sydney NS. Currently making 9kn, with CCGS Terry Fox following.
UPDATE 22:19: the tow is progressing towards Sydney, with an ETA of 1am.
Its also a good time to better understand the response. Its not known at this time when the MSC Kim called for assistance, but it certainly should have reported to MCTS that it was not under command. the CCGS Terry Fox was on icebreaking duty in the Straights of Belle Isle, specifically on the the Saint-Barb to Blanc Sablon Ferry route. On the 5th, terry fox departed for Corner Brook,and spent most of the 6th breaking ice in Corner Brook, before returning to the ferry run on the 7th. Terry Fox then Sailed for Stephenville the Evening of the 8th, arriving the afternoon of the 9th, which is where we picked up the story.
Jean Goodwill, Sailed from Sydney on the 4th to break ice in Charlottetown. The ship then returned to Sydney on the 6th, rounding the Tip of Cape Breton island 30 minutes after the ship appears to have lost propulsion. The ship returned to Sydney, and looks to have spent a portion of the day breaking ice in the approaches to Sydney.
Why does this time line matter – in 2014, the John 1 went aground after refusing a tow from the Coast Guard before the situation got worse. A last minute tow attempt by the Earl Grey failed, and the ship went aground. it was subsequently declared a constructive total loss and recycled.
The MSC Kim lost power in open water, and calm conditions. That doesn’t make the situation an emergency, however the potential for the situation to go bad exists. Even if a commercial tow is desired, there is no reason not to have a Coast Guard ship capable of taking a tow on scene in case situation changes, or conditions get worse. If you have time, you have options.
When a fire alarm is triggered, the fire department begins moving sufficient resources to deal with a fire closer to the site of the alarm in case they are needed. In many cases they get returned on route. but every now and then they are needed, and the improved proximity helps quickly bring the situation under control.
For all the talk of world class response, and the oceans protection plan, once again we have a case where the Coast Guard has failed to take positive control of a situation, to ensure it doesn’t go bad. Once again, we got lucky that a suitable commercial towing vessel was in a convenient place to respond, and the weather held. But if the Coast Guard wants to convince Canadians they have control, they need to step in and be in a position to respond.
UPDATE 02/11 0748: the tow is outside Sydney now. it looks like they might have chosen a path to avoid some ice, and probably were waiting for daylight to enter the Harbour.
UPDATE 02/19: MSC Kim sailed from Sydney this morning, bound for Montreal.