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Stranded trawler towed by Yellowknife


Army.ca Veteran
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from todays Lookout newspaper: http://www.lookoutnewspaper.com/archive/20061114/index.shtml


Fishing trawler Forum Star is                                                                 
towed to safety by HMCS Yellowknife.

Stranded trawler towed by Yellowknife
Lt(N) Heather McDonald
November 14, 2006

A high seas drama unfolded over the Nov. 4 weekend when HMCS Yellowknife came to the aid of a floundering fishing trawler.

The engine in Forum Star quit 43 nautical miles off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, leaving the 98-foot trawler dead in the water in stormy weather. The trawler was southbound from Alaska on its way to Seattle when the main engine malfunctioned.

“It was a little distressing,” said captain Durin Chappe. “I radioed Tofino Traffic about the situation and 30 minutes later we received word that HMCS Yellowknife was on her way to provide assistance. It was wonderful to have the instant knowledge that someone was coming to help.”

Yellowknife was operating 100 nautical miles away when tasked by the Victoria Joint Rescue Coordination Centre to help the distressed vessel.

“We received the call to assist Forum Star at 10:40 p.m. on Saturday night,” said Yellowknife’s Commanding Officer, LCdr James Vasey. “We knew there was a storm coming in, so we had to get out to help her as soon as possible.”

As Yellowknife made the 10-hour, open ocean transit to Forum Star’s position, the crew of the stranded trawler prepared for a long night.

“Everything considered, the boat faired pretty well,” said Chappe.“When a vessel is disabled it usually ends up beam to the wind, which is exactly what happened to us. One crewmember stood watch, but we had a relatively peaceful night.”

Yellowknife arrived on scene Sunday morning in heavy weather, and the ship’s crew wasted no time rigging a towline to begin the slow and steady towing operation to Port Hardy.

“The storm caught up to us and at one point we were in two- to three-metre seas and 40 knot winds. At times we were making good only two knots, half of what was rung on, because we were being continuously pounded by the sea,” explained LCdr Vasey.

When it appeared the weather was worsening, LCdr Vasey took precautionary measures.

“The towing hawser and bridle were coming under a considerable amount of strain due to the extreme weather and I grew concerned that it may part,” he said. “When it looked like the seas were increasing, I requested assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfred Laurier.”

When CCGS Sir Wilfred Laurier arrived on scene, the strong, gusting winds made a tow exchange too dangerous, so the Coast Guard ship followed astern, ready to render assistance.

“We felt very well taken care of,” said the trawler’s captain. “I thought Yellowknife’s crew did an outstanding job throughout the whole operation.”

After towing the disabled trawler for 22 hours in more than 90 nautical miles of unrelenting seas, the crew of Yellowknife delivered the boat to the safety of Port Hardy, where it will undergo repairs. Now in the refuge of the harbour, Chappe has only one regret.

“I’m sorry I never got to shake the hand of Yellowknife’s captain. Our hearts sank when this all happened and just to hear that they were on their way really buoyed our spirits.”

BZ 'knife  :salute:


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I think this makes our third SAR Zone in a row that resulted in a tow...

Good times.  ;)