DARTMOUTH, NS, June 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Citing a lack of preparation, bad
weather and a mechanical breakdown as three important factors, the TSB
today released its investigation report (M13N0001) into the loss-of-tow
by the tug boat Charlene Hunt of the MV Lyubov Orlova in waters off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).
On 23 January 2013, bound for the Dominican Republic, the tug Charlene Hunt departed St. John's harbour towing the cruise ship Lyubov Orlova. The tug and tow travelled for approximately 19 hours, until they hit
winds estimated at 40 knots and seas of 5 to 6 m. The heavy weather
persisted and, at approximately 14:45 on 24 January, the towing
arrangement between the tug and tow failed off Cape Race, NL.
Throughout the remainder of that day and most of the next day, the Charlene Hunt stood by the Lyubov Orlova and reported to Marine Communications and Traffic Services regularly.
Worsening weather and a mechanical breakdown aboard the Charlene Hunt forced the tug to abandon the tow and seek sheltered water near Cape
Spear, NL, where the crew began repairs. The tow was not successfully
resumed and the Lyubov Orlova was left derelict and adrift in international waters and is presumed
The TSB investigation revealed a number of inadequacies. Chief among
them was that the relief master did not adequately prepare to
compensate for the environmental conditions that were encountered
during the tow. The report observed that available guidelines
respecting the design and construction of towing arrangements were not
followed, and that the towing arrangement was inadequate for the
The TSB investigation also made findings as to risk. In Halifax,
Transport Canada (TC) inspected the Charlene Hunt and found deficiencies. Repairs were made and the tug proceeded to St.
John's to meet the Lyubov Orlova. Before the vessel's departure for the Dominican Republic, TC had
requested that the master contact their office in St. John's upon
arrival. The master did not report his arrival and the Charlene Hunt departed with the tow. Following the eventual loss of the tow and the
vessel's return to St. John's, a TC inspection again revealed several
deficiencies with the tug. The TSB investigation concluded that had an
inspection been undertaken prior to departure, some of these
deficiencies would have been identified. If Port State Control is not
exercised and vessels that are unseaworthy are permitted to continue
operating, there is a risk that the safety of the crew and the
environment may be compromised.
The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline,
railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the
advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the
Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.
SOURCE: Transportation Safety Board of Canada
For further information:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
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