Crew unhurt after tug boat sinks off Westham Island
A tug boat capsized and sank just off Westham Island last week but both the crew and the boat are safe and sound.
On March 6, a tug boat named the Sea Imp XV, belonging to Catherwood Towing in Mission, was towing a Fraser River Pile and Dredge crane barge between Westham Island and Steveston when it capsized and sank.
Two men who went into the chilly water were rescued, although one is believed to have swam to shore.
Captain Phillip Nelson, president of the Council of Marine Carriers, said the Fraser River isn’t very deep in that area so recovery of the vessel was fairly routine.
“If it was a deep sea ship, for instance, you might not have even noticed it sunk,” he said. “But the smaller tugs and pleasure craft and that type of thing will sink but they’re not too far down below the surface.”
Nelson said strong currents can make recovery more difficult, particularly during the freshette in the spring.
Tom Lively, president of Fraser River Pile and Dredge, said their derrick was doing sand sampling in the river at the time of the capsizing.
“Most of my crew was working on the downstream end of the barge so we didn’t actually see exactly what happened other than the fact that the [tug] was in the process of sinking,” he said.
Divers waited until slack tide to attach cables to the sunken tug and it was recovered without incident.
Nelson said there were only minor interruptions to the traffic in the river.
Ernie Catherwood of Catherwood Towing declined to comment on the incident nor did he name the men who went into the river.