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Attempt to Tow Drifting, Fuel-Packed Ship Fails

But Russian cargo ship Simushir now 'very far off the coast' of Canada
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 18, 2014 5:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Russian ship carrying hundreds of tons of fuel remains adrift despite officials' efforts to grab it with tow lines: All three lines from a Canadian Coast Guard vessel have broken, officials say. As of this morning, the CBC reports, the container ship was some 28 miles off the coast of British Columbia, an improvement over last night's nine miles. "What's good is that she's very far off the coast. We've put some really good distance there," says a Canadian Navy officer.

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Crew members remain aboard and are trying to fix the ship's broken oil heater, the Canadian Press reports. Meanwhile, another tug boat is still on its way to the Simushir, and US and Canadian Coast Guard vessels are nearby. Officials hope the Barbara Foss, an oceangoing tug, can handle the Russian ship, which lost power yesterday. Still, the Coast Guard is worried about the possibility of the ship breaking on rocks. The Exxon-Valdez oil spill of 1989 occurred not far away, the CBC notes, and some 5,000 people live and fish on a local island, says the head of the region's Council of the Haida Nation. (Read more Canada stories.)

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