MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - A tugboat arrived Saturday night to tow the disabled Russian container ship carrying hundreds of tons of fuel further away from Canada's British Columbia shores and into more sheltered waters, a spokesperson with the Canadian Forces' Joint Rescue Coordination Center said.
"When they get the vessel under tow, they'll first head in a northwesterly direction and get it further from the coastline and eventually into more sheltered waters to the north of Haida Gwaii… Then a decision will be made on where to take it," Navy Lt. Pendergast told Canadian TV news channel CTVNews.
He said the Barbara Foss tugboat arrived in the area after 5 p.m. local time and was hooking onto the drifting Simushir vessel.
Officials said there was no risk of the ship hitting rocks after it was moved 24 nautical miles (44 kilometers) away from the rocky shore. Fears were it could spill its cargo of 400 metric tons of bunker fuel and 60 metric tons of diesel, triggering an environmental disaster.
On Friday, British Columbia Environment Minister Mary Polak said "the province is also contacting its partners in the B.C. Pacific States Oil Spill Task Force both to notify them of the risk and to ask them to provide mutual aid as needed based on the outcome of efforts to restore power to the vessel".
The Simushir carrier ship, with a crew of 11, was going from the US state of Washington to Russia when it lost power on Friday morning. The captain was injured and rescued from the vessel.
British Columbia still remembers the massive oil spill that occurred near Alaska in 1989, when Exxon Valdez oil tanker struck Bligh Reef and spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels of crude oil over the next days.