OLYMPIA – The state-funded emergency response tug stationed at Neah Bay
was ready to respond to the aid of a 500-foot chemical tanker
that lost power Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009, off of the Washington coast.
The tug named Hunter was dispatched Wednesday night
to assist the Ginga Falcon, a chemical product tanker operating under a Panamanian flag.
The tanker was sailing from Vancouver, B.C., to San Francisco.
The Ginga Falcon was carrying paraffin wax, caustic soda (a highly corrosive industrial chemical)
and ethylene glycol (a toxic liquid used in antifreeze and deicing solutions).
The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) was notified of the situation yesterday afternoon
when the U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard) requested the Hunter be placed on standby for the incident.
At the time of the Coast Guard request,
the response tug had already left its Neah Bay berth as a precautionary measure.
Ecology then directed the tug to proceed toward the disabled tanker.
The Ginga Falcon can carry up to 20,000 tons of cargo.
However, it was unclear how much cargo and fuel was onboard at the time of the incident.
The tanker was about 45 miles off of Washington’s coast
when a pipe ruptured on a boiler that heats the ship’s engine fuel.
After several hours without power,
the crew was able to repair the pipe and restore the ship’s propulsion.
The tanker then resumed its journey to San Francisco at about 8:30 p.m.
The response tug proceeded back to Neah Bay.