Mariners have raised concerns about foreign flagged ships after the grounding of the bunkering tanker Arca 1 off Canada’s coast on January 8.
The National Observer cites an article from The Canadian Press where Patrice Caron of the Seafarers International Union questioned why the tanker, designed to operate in calm harbors, was permitted to attempt a winter crossing of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The Arca 1 ran aground just north of Sydney, Nova Scotia, while en route to Sydney for repairs. It reportedly suffered from mechanical difficulties and engine failure. The Canadian Coast Guard coordinated the successful rescue of the vessel’s six crew members.
After an unsuccessful tow attempt and extensive de-ballasting and pumping operations, the vessel was successfully towed to a dock in Sydney and is now being inspected to assess its structural integrity and to determine the exact cause of its problems.
Caron said: “When I saw the news I couldn’t believe it. This vessel should remain in certain parameters of the coast; it’s not meant for the open sea.”
Patrick Gates, president of Master Mariners of Canada, said he and other members of his association also question how the ship was allowed to proceed to the open ocean. He said a tug escort would have been wise. “I’m amazed it was given a certificate to transit,” the National Observer reports him as saying.
The Arca 1 has a flat bottom with two outboard motors. The vessel was bought by Petroil Marine of Mexico and reflagged and registered in Panama. Transport Canada records indicate the Arca 1 was shifted to foreign registration on October 17, a few months before the voyage.