An incapacitated Russian cargo ship is now in port in Prince Rupert on British Columbia's north coast, ending fears that the vessel, which lost power Thursday night, would drift ashore, hit rocks and spill hundreds of tonnes of fuel.

The Simushir was towed to port by a U.S.-based ocean-going tug, the Barbara Foss.

Engine repairs on the Simushir are expected to be completed within two days.

Power lost Thursday night

The Simushir lost power due to a mechanical failure late Thursday off Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, as it made its way from Everett in Washington state to Russia.

The Canadian Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid arrived on scene Friday night and started towing the disabled ship away from shore, but three attempts to keep a towline attached failed and the ship was adrift again for six hours Saturday daytime.

The 10 crew members aboard the Simushir were trying to repair the broken oil heater that has left the vessel disabled, Royal Canadian Navy Lt. Greg Menzies said.

The Simushir, which is about 135 metres long, was carrying a range of hydrocarbons, mining materials and other related chemicals. That included 400 tons of bunker oil and 50 tons of diesel. The vessel is not a tanker but rather a cargo ship. In comparison, the tanker Exxon Valdez, spilled 35,000 metric tons of oil.

A spokesman for Russian shipping firm SASCO, the owners of the vessel, said it is carrying 298 containers of mining equipment in addition to heavy bunker fuel as well as diesel oil for the voyage.

Officials said the captain of the Simushir was reported injured and was evacuated by helicopter Friday afternoon to Sandspit on Haida Gwaii, but they were given no further medical details.

The Simushir is registered in Kholmsk, Russia, and owned by SASCO, also known as Sakhalin Shipping Company, according to the company's website. The SASCO website says the ship was built in the Netherlands in 1998.

  • The Russian bulk carrier vessel Simushir, photographed here Friday, Oct. 17, was adrift off Haida Gwaii since losing power Thursday night.
  • A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from 19 Wing Comox was dispatched to the scene Friday morning.
  • The Russian-flagged ship was drifting without power off the west coast of Moresby Island, intially with 11 crew members on board.
  • At 12:30 p.m. PT Friday, the captain, who was reported to be injured, was taken from the ship by helicopter to Sandspit.
  • Officials with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria said Friday afternoon that the crew was continuing to work on restarting the ship's engine.
  • In the meantime, the Canadian Coast Guard began preparations to launch an incident command post in the event the ship drifted toward land, the fear being that the ship could run aground, spilling fuel and oil.
  • A video still shows the Canadian Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. The Gordon Reid struggled with three separate tow lines, each of which snapped in turn, as it pulled the Simushir away from the coastline Friday night and Saturday morning.
  • A photo posted to the Facebook page of Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) Saturday morning, Oct. 18, shows the incapacitated Russian cargo ship Simushir. After the Gordon Reid lost its third tow line, the Simushir sat adrift for six hours Saturday before the Barbara Foss tug arrived and secured it.
  • At around 5:30 p.m. PT Saturday, the oceangoing tugboat Barbara Foss arrived at the scene and secured a line to the Simushir.
  • A video still shows the oceangoing U.S. tug Barbara Foss, left, the Russian cargo ship Simushir, and the Canadian Coast Guard ships Gordon Reid and Sir Wilfrid Laurier together off the west Coast of Haida Gwaii on Saturday evening, Oct. 18, 2014.
  • A video still shows the Russian cargo ship Simushir Saturday evening, Oct. 18, 2014, once the Barbara Foss had it secured to a line.
  • As the sun set Saturday, the Simushir tug-tow operation was well-underway.
  • This photo from Sunday shows the tug and the ship en route to Prince Rupert.
  • As of noon, the Barbara Foss and the Simushir were approximately 86 nautical miles from Prince Rupert and travelling at six knots.
  • Officials said the coast guard ships that had responded to the scene Friday and Saturday returned to regular duties Sunday afternoon. The Barbara Foss and the Simushir are expected to arrive in port in Prince Rupert late Sunday night or early Monday morning.
  • The Russian bulk carrier vessel Simushir, photographed here Friday, Oct. 17, was adrift off Haida Gwaii since losing power Thursday night. (MARPAC/Facebook)
  • A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter from 19 Wing Comox was dispatched to the scene Friday morning. (MARPAC/Facebook)
  • The Russian-flagged ship was drifting without power off the west coast of Moresby Island, intially with 11 crew members on board. (MARPAC/Facebook)
  • At 12:30 p.m. PT Friday, the captain, who was reported to be injured, was taken from the ship by helicopter to Sandspit. (MARPAC/Facebook)
  • Officials with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria said Friday afternoon that the crew was continuing to work on restarting the ship's engine. (MARPAC/Facebook)
  • In the meantime, the Canadian Coast Guard began preparations to launch an incident command post in the event the ship drifted toward land, the fear being that the ship could run aground, spilling fuel and oil. (MARPAC/Facebook)
  • A video still shows the Canadian Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. The Gordon Reid struggled with three separate tow lines, each of which snapped in turn, as it pulled the Simushir away from the coastline Friday night and Saturday morning. (Council of the Haida Nation/YouTube)
  • A photo posted to the Facebook page of Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) Saturday morning, Oct. 18, shows the incapacitated Russian cargo ship Simushir. After the Gordon Reid lost its third tow line, the Simushir sat adrift for six hours Saturday before the Barbara Foss tug arrived and secured it. (Maritime Forces Pacific/Facebook)
  • At around 5:30 p.m. PT Saturday, the oceangoing tugboat Barbara Foss arrived at the scene and secured a line to the Simushir. (Council of the Haida Nation/YouTube)
  • A video still shows the oceangoing U.S. tug Barbara Foss, left, the Russian cargo ship Simushir, and the Canadian Coast Guard ships Gordon Reid and Sir Wilfrid Laurier together off the west Coast of Haida Gwaii on Saturday evening, Oct. 18, 2014. (Council of the Haida Nation/YouTube)
  • A video still shows the Russian cargo ship Simushir Saturday evening, Oct. 18, 2014, once the Barbara Foss had it secured to a line. (Council of the Haida Nation/YouTube)
  • As the sun set Saturday, the Simushir tug-tow operation was well-underway. (Council of the Haida Nation/YouTube)
  • This photo from Sunday shows the tug and the ship en route to Prince Rupert. (Maritime Forces Pacific/Facebook)
  • As of noon, the Barbara Foss and the Simushir were approximately 86 nautical miles from Prince Rupert and travelling at six knots. (Maritime Forces Pacific/Facebook)
  • Officials said the coast guard ships that had responded to the scene Friday and Saturday returned to regular duties Sunday afternoon. The Barbara Foss and the Simushir are expected to arrive in port in Prince Rupert late Sunday night or early Monday morning. (Maritime Forces Pacific/Facebook)
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