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A Log Dumping Disaster at New Westminster BC
by Allan Crook 2017
We can just make out the fallen crane on the Ocean Oregon from the deck of the tug. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
On July 08, 2005 I was serving in the tug Ocean Wrestler towing the log barge Ocean Oregon. I recently came across all of my photos of the Ocean Oregon dumping her load and crane into river at the Timberland log dump area. The photos run from about 30 seconds into the process or so after she rolled over and dumped right up to the time the next day when we secured the crane so it would not fall completely into the river.
In the cold morning light the full extent of the situation is revealed. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
We were loading at a place that we referred to as Timberland at the Fraser Surrey Docks. The towboat was the Ocean Wrestler under Captain Ken Hemion. I was the Chief Engineer and the 2nd Engineer was Lance Stanley. I can’t remember the 1st Mates’ name at the moment but I can track that down. As for what happened, well all I really remember was that we had all sat up talking after our watch until around 00:30. Ken and I retired to our cabins. About 15 or 20 minutes later I remember hearing Lance scream up the stairs to our cabins that "she was going over" which was followed by a very large thundering sound of around 13,000 cubic metres of wood coming off the barge along with the socket from our towline being torn off and the Manitwoc Vicon 7600 Crane barely balanced on the deck of the Ocean Oregon.
The momentum of the barge during the dump forced her up onto the stone training wall and firmly grounded her. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
Ken Hemion and I got out of our bunks immediately and went on deck where the first photo was taken where we saw the crane operator swimming out from the now submerged cab of the crane. As we were standing there (Ken an me) I remember that Jeff, one of our deckhands, remarked that the engines were still running on the crane to which I remarked that they would soon shut themselves off which almost on cue they did. Indeed they seized up from running almost upside down. Jeff was somewhat puzzled as to how I knew of their impending doom. From that point onward we mustered the entire crew to pull out all of our oil spill prevention equipment to stem the flow of oil into the water and to secure the scene and see just what shape we were in, needless to say it was a very long night followed by an even longer day.
Some logs were still stranded on the deck of the barge. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
Crew members from the Ocean Wrestler from top to bottom: Jeff (deckhand), Ken Smith & Lance Stanley (2nd Engineer) (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
The logs in the water were contained and no longer posed a direct hazard to shipping. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
Men on the deck of the barge securing and assessing the state of the log cargo left on deck. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
The falling crane boom did some damage to the superstructure of the barge, slicing through the steel like butter. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
The Manitwoc Vicon 7600 Crane barely balanced on the deck of the barge Ocean Oregon. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
A seldom seen view of the underside of the crane tractor. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
Workers securing the crane with wire cables so that it would not tumble completely into the ocean. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
It took a lot of wire cable to secure the crane. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
The barge Ocean Oregon. In 1975 she was built in Portland Oregon and owned by USA interests. In 2003–2004 she was owned by Great Northern Marine Towing Ltd., New Westminster BC. In 2012 she was owned by Pacific Link Ocean Services Corp., St. Michael Barbados. In 2013–2017 she was owned by Amix Marine Holding Co. Ltd., New Westminster BC. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )
The barge Ocean Oregon showing the Manitwoc Vicon 7600 Crane carried on deck. (Photo from the John MacFarlane collection. )
The Ocean Wrestler and her tow. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
The bow of the Ocean Wrestler in Stewart BC. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
The author (Allan Crook) "Not impressed by the situation" This photo was taken while working on the Commodore Straits 5 months prior to sinking during another situation. (Photo from the Allan Crook collection. )
To quote from this article please cite:
Crook, Allan (2017) Log Dump Disaster. Nauticapedia.ca 2017. http://nauticapedia.ca/Gallery/Log_Dump_Disaster.php
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