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Storm-force winds damage cargo ship

Feb 04 2012

A cargo ship out of Longview, Wash. is safe and preparing to return to port after sending out a distress signal late Thursday night.

The 610-foot vessel, with a crew of 23, was about 300 nautical miles off northern Vancouver Island when it contacted the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria. The ship was en route to Japan and was experiencing storm-force winds and waves of 10 metres or more, and had lost some of its cargo of logs overboard.

A coast guard ship and an aircraft were deployed.

The situation for the vessel stabilized during the night. Marc Proulx, an officer at the rescue centre, said he spoke to the ship’s captain mid-morning Friday.

“They’re all safe, no injuries, they’re holding for weather. He’s waiting for the weather to abate before he goes back into port to assess damage and resecure his cargo.”

Proulx said the coast guard ship heading to the scene will help with the damage assessment and provide an escort, if needed.

“We’re looking at long-term,” he said. “This is going to be days.”

Proulx said he doesn’t expect the cargo vessel will make great time on its way back.

“Mechanically they’re probably fine, but I imagine they have a few holes on the deck.”

He said the main damage on the ship appears to be to the “timber boards”, which are steel beams that hold the cargo on the deck in place.

The timber boards allow logs to be loaded on the deck while grain is loaded in the hold, Proulx said.

jwbell@timescolonist.com