On February 27, the 38 foot tugboat Nova sank on the Columbia River near Umatilla, Oregon. The Nova had broken from its mooring by high winds and drifted nearly a mile before it sank just upriver of the McNary Dam. Authorities were alerted and dispatched a response team to the scene.
State and Federal authorities found where the Nova had sunk. Divers inspected the wreck and found a 1 meter gash in the hull. Fuel vents were closed, but the Nova had already released oil pollution into the water. A light sheen was visible above the sunken tug. Booms and absorbent pads were used to contain the pollution.
Reports state a barge and crane was dispatched to lift the tug from the river bottom. The Nova was later recovered a few days later and taken to Vancouver. No reports of injuries as no one was on board the Nova at the time of the incident.
On February 3, the 64 foot long tugboat Fishhawk went aground in the Sinclair Inlet near Port Orchard, Washington. The Fishhawk had been berthed at a nearby marina when 40 knot winds and 3 foot waves broke its mooring lines. Winds blew the vessel along the shoreline until it grounded on a sandbank. No reports of injuries, damage or pollution released. The Fishhawk’s owners have stated the vessel would be refloated on the next high tide.
On January 25, seven vessels broke free from their moorings on the Hudson River near Albany, New York. Five barges, one tugboat and the 140 foot long passenger ship Captain JP III broke free after rains and warming weather caused the water level on the river to rise and released several ice jams. Pulled downstream, the Captain JP III drifted until it struck the railroad bridge. The passenger ship was too tall to pass under the bridge and became wedged under the span. Many of the other vessels were able to pass under the bridge without mishap, but several did strike the bridge.
Multiple tugs were dispatched and were able to free the Captain JP III and recover the other unmanned tugboats and barges. No reports of injuries.
Authorities report the bridge did sustain some minor damage, but the bridge should remain in operation. The Captain JP III sustained significant hull damage to its stern.