Threat reduced to B.C. coast as fuel barge safely reaches protected waters

BELLA BELLA, B.C. - The coast guard says a loaded fuel barge that broke away from its tug off British Columbia's central coast has reached safer waters and is now moored.

A tweet from the coast guard says the barge Zidell Marine 277 is at anchor, along with the tug that towed it to Norman Morison Bay at the northern tip of Campbell Island, on the Inside Passage.

The coast guard says booms have been placed around both vessels as a precaution, but no pollution has been observed.

The barge was loaded with 3.5 million litres of diesel and 468,000 litres of gasoline when its owner, Washington state-based Harley Marine Services, says it broke away from its tug Sunday after being hit by powerful waves.

Company vice-president of safety Rich Softye says the crew from the tug was able to board the barge and drop its anchor, preventing it from drifting onto a nearby island.

Softye says a full investigation is being done and the company is also questioning the manufacturer of the system that couples its tugs to barges.


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