Wednesday July 30, 2014

Transportation Safety Board sends team to assess drifting ship case

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent a team of investigators to Newfoundland and Labrador to assess safety issues arising from a derelict Russian cruise ship that broke free from a tow line last week in the Atlantic Ocean.

Board spokesman John Cottreau says the board hasn't committed to a formal investigation into how the Lyubov Orlova broke free from a tugboat on Jan. 23.

He says that will be determined after the assessment is complete.

Earlier this week, an offshore supply ship was sent to tow the vessel away from oil platforms in the North Atlantic.

The vessel started drifting toward open water after it snapped its tow line as a tugboat was pulling it to the Dominican Republic for scrap.

The tug Charlene Hunt was ordered back to St. John's by Transport Canada.

An offshore support vessel from Husky Energy reattached a line to the Lyubov Orlova on Wednesday, but Transport Canada could not say on Friday what its final destination is.

Meanwhile, the port authority in St. John's, N.L., is taking measures to prevent the ship from docking again at its facilities in the city's harbour.

The Lyubov Orlova had been tied up in the harbour for more than two years before it was towed away last week.

Sean Hanrahan, the port authority's president and CEO, says he's sent a letter to Transport Canada informing it that the port won't permit the vessel to berth at any of its facilities.

Hanrahan says that doesn't prevent the ship from coming back to St. John's because there are other facilities that are privately or Crown owned that may take the ship.


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