Strong winds and sea conditions slowing progress of MV John I being towed to Argentia

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The towing of the MV John I continues this afternoon, though strong winds and sea conditions have slowed progress.

The estimated time of arrival in Argentia is now late Saturday or early Sunday. The vessel has passed the islands of St-Pierre-Miquelon and is now heading for Placentia Bay.

No pollution was detected today during two aerial surveillance flights, or by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Earl Grey, which is monitoring the John I.

The Earl Grey has offshore oil spill response equipment and environmental response officers aboard in addition to the ship’s crew.

The John I is being towed by the tug Ryan Leet with support from the tug Atlantic Fir.

••••

(Earlier story)

The MV John I, which ran aground off Rose Blanche last weekend, is now being towed to Argentia.

A spokesman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the towing of the vessel got underway at 9 a.m. this morning.

Svitzer Salvage installed two auxiliary generators overnight to supply power to retrieve the ship’s anchors.  The vessel is being towed by the tug Ryan Leet, with support from the tug Atlantic Fir. It is estimated the John I will arrive in Argentia on Saturday afternoon.

The DFO spokesman said the Canadian Coast Guard Ship CCGS Earl Grey will monitor the John I along the route to Argentia. The vessel Earl Grey has aboard offshore oil spill response equipment and environmental response officers in addition to the ship’s crew.

The Eastern Canada Response Corp. (ECRC) has pollution response equipment available.

The Canadian Coast Guard is the federal monitor and is advising and supporting the activities of the salvage company and the owner’s efforts to mitigate any potential pollution.

The DFO spokesman said Wednesday, aerial surveillance and on-sea observations by the Coast Guard did not detect any oil leaking from the John I.  Aerial surveillance flights are planned for the duration of the towing operation, weather permitting.

Environment Canada will provide forecasting  specific to the towing route along the south coast and into Argentia, and has also provided oil spill trajectory models.

The Canadian Coast Guard vessel George R. Pearkes has been released from the area, and the Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response command post in Rose Blanche will be demobilized now that towing is underway.

The Canadian Coast Guard continues to work closely with Environment Canada, Transport Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency to manage these operations.

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(Earlier story- March 19, 2014)

Update: MV John I crew preparing for tow to Argentia

Preparations to tow the MV John I to Argentia continued throughout Wednesday.

Coast guard transported a salvage crew from the international company, Svitzer Salvage, and a tow master to the vessel. Two crew members of the John I, the chief engineer and the electrician, also boarded the ship.

According to DFO, a generator is being transported to the John I in order to operate the ship’s anchors. Crews will work overnight Wednesday in preparation to raise the anchors and begin towing Thursday morning.

Yesterday tow lines were secured to the John I from the tugs Ryan Leet and the Atlantic Fir. The CCGS George R. Pearkes is monitoring the ship and supporting salvage operations.

Aerial surveillance flights and coast guard monitoring did not detect any oil pollution from the vessel on Tuesday. Two surveillance flights were also planned for Wednesday.

Two officials from the Transportation Safety Board are also on-site and boarded the MV John I Tuesday.

When the tow commences, the CCGS Earl Grey will monitor the John I along the route to Argentia. Along with the 20 person crew, the Earl Grey will carry two environmental response officers and offshore oil spill response equipment. Environment Canada will provide forecasting along the route.

The plan is to two the John I to Argentia to assess the damage. The vessel was enroute to Montreal from Spain when it lost its engine. It was blown into shoal water but was freed when the wind changed direction.

 •••

 (Earlier story: Tow lines secured to John I)

Secure tow lines have been attached to the MV John I which lost its engine and ran aground off Rose Blanche last weekend.

A salvage crew from international salvage company, Svitzer, and a tow master boarded the MV John I on Tuesday and completed a secure tow hook-up with the tugs Ryan Leet and the Atlantic Fir.

The three vessels remained anchored overnight with the CCGS George R. Pearkes standing by to monitor the vessels.

Aerial surveillance flights and coast guard monitoring on water did not detect any oil pollution from the vessel on Tuesday. Two surveillance flights are also planned for Wednesday.

Two officials from the Transportation Safety Board are also on-site and boarded the MV John I yesterday.

The plan is to tow the John I to Argentia to assess the damage. The vessel was enroute to Montreal from Spain when it lost its engine. It was blown into shoal water but was freed when the winds changed direction.

Organizations: Svitzer, Transportation Safety Board

Geographic location: Montreal, Spain

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