Lift arrives to pull sunken tug boat from Fraser River

George H. Ledcor, a barge-hauling tug operated by the Ledcor Group, went down Monday night

Salvage crews will attempt to raise a sunken tug in the Fraser River off Vancouver this afternoon.

A larger crane and barge, along with specialized crews, had to be brought in to help bring the George H Ledcor tug from the bottom of the river.

Coast guard spokesman Dan Bate says the tug was to be lifted this morning, but that’s been delayed until slack tide.

The tug, operated by the Ledcor Group, was hauling a loaded gravel barge when it went down Monday night, although the cause of capsizing is still unclear.

The vessel has the capacity to carry 22,000 litres of diesel fuel, but Bate says it’s unclear how much was in its fuel tank.

Ledcor spokesman David Hoff says in an emailed statement that divers managed to seal off the fuel tanks yesterday afternoon and as much as 600 litres of fuel has been recovered from the site so far.

Hoff says two cranes are positioned above the vessel and crews are working on rigging to secure the tug for the lift.

An update issued on social media by the Canadian Coast Guard says its vessels stayed at the scene through the night and will remain in command while salvage efforts are underway.

Bate says the flow of the fuel release slowed significantly after the divers were able to cap the fuel tanks.

Absorbent pads and booms surround the tug and Ledcor has contracted Western Canada Marine Response Corp. to clean up as much fuel as possible.

Bate says diesel is considered to be a lighter fuel and can evaporate quickly.

“It’s quite common for the strong smell of diesel in the area as this evaporation takes place.”

The Transportation Safety Board says it’s deploying a team of investigators to the site to gather information and assess the incident.

The board investigates marine occurrences to advance transportation safety, but does not assign blame or determine civil or criminal liability.

The Canadian Press

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