Disabled tug towed into Port Angeles Harbor, then taken to Seattle

SEATTLE — A disabled tug and its 320-foot barge that were towed into Port Angeles Harbor on Wednesday night had gone on to Seattle on Thursday morning.

The Coast Guard coordinated assistance for the tug Mauna Loa, which suffered engine failure and began to drift toward the Washington coast Tuesday.

The 113-foot Mauna Loa along with its 320-foot barge were met by the crew of tug vessel Lauren Foss, which towed the disabled vessel to Port Angeles before returning to Neah Bay.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received the report from the master of the disabled tug and coordinated with the owner of the tug who contracted with the tugs Lauren Foss of Neah Bay and the David Brusco of Cathlamet to intercept the Mauna Loa before it could drift aground.

Difficult currents

Because of harsh currents, a Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor 47-foot motor life boat crew launched to act as emergency safety standby to pull the four crew members from the Mauna Loa if the tugs were unable to arrive before the vessel ran aground.

The Lauren Foss is the current emergency rescue towing vessel (ERTV) based at Neah Bay.

The ERTV is a state-mandated program funded by fees levied on vessels calling on Puget Sound.

The program was developed to provide a resource to ensure that vessels that became disabled offshore could be intercepted before they endangered the region’s ecologically sensitive shores.

The Marine Exchange of Puget Sound acts as the administrative agent for the ERTV program. However, the services of the ERTV, when needed, are arranged for directly with the dispatchers at Foss Maritime.

The Neah Bay emergency tug has responded 57 times since 1999, according to a state Department of Ecology website, http://tinyurl.com/PDN-tugresponses.

5 responses last year

The site lists five responses during 2016.

“This might be the second time the tug has been called out in 2017,” said Scott Ferguson, spills prevention manager.

“Thanks to programs like that of the ERTV and others administered by the Marine Exchange, the professionalism of our Coast Guard watchstanders as well as clear and concise planning with all parties involved, we were able to get the crew of the Mauna Loa the assistance they needed,” said Laird Hail, director, Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Service, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound.

“The ability to coordinate with our maritime community greatly helped negate a situation that could have resulted in injuries to the crew members aboard the disabled tug or possible harm to the environment.”

Weather on scene at the time of the incident was reported as 25 mph winds and 8-foot seas.

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