Tow line to Russian cargo ship snaps but help at hand, crew safe

Members of the nearby Haida Nation are relieved the cargo ship is being towed and will not spill its fuel

OLD MASSETT, B.C. – The tow line attached to a disabled Russian cargo ship off the British Columbia coast has snapped, setting the ship adrift once again.

But Lt. Greg Menzies of the Canadian Forces’ Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre says there are three Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard ships on scene and three helicopters on stand-by.

He says the 10 crew members remain on board in no danger and the vessel is about 45 kilometres from shore.

Menzies says the Canadian Coast Guard is attempting to reattach a tow line until an ocean-going tug arrives tonight.

Crew members are also continuing to try to repair the broken oil heater that has left the vessel disabled.

The Simushir lost power Thursday night in rough seas off Haida Gwaii while sailing from Washington state to Russia.

Menzies says the weather is co-operating and once the tug is attached, a decision will be made whether the vessel can be repaired at sea or should be towed to the nearest port.

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