Gale force winds and 4 meter seas along with driving rain and limited visibility have raised concerns about the safety of the ship which is 40 nautical miles off Halifax's Chebucto Head. CCGS Earl Grey also put to sea to standby.
Atlantic Towing's Atlantic Larch was the first tug to respond. The 4,000 bhp tug is fitted with a towing winch in addition to its shiphandling winch forward. It would not be large enough to tow the tanker single handedly, but it could certainly assist in keeping its head up to winds and seas, if it can secure and maintain a tow line in rough conditions.
Also sailing from Halifax the anchor handling tug supplier Venture Sea with 12,280 bhp would certainly be able to tow the ship. The Secunda Canada tug was in Halifax on a regular run from the Sable Island gas operations when it was called out. Built in 1998 by Halter Marine in Pascagoula, it has worked for Secunda in Canada and overseas.
Australian Spirit is operated by Teekay Shipping and was built in 2004 by Hyundai Heavy Industries of Ulsan, South Korea. It measures 68,213 grt, 111, 9045 dwt.
Halifax Harbour is under weather watch due to winds and seas, with several ships waiting offshore for improved conditions to make it possible to enter port. These conditions will make it difficult to manage Australian Spirit, which will no doubt have to enter port to effect repairs.