Nova Scotia

Australian Spirit tanker adrift off Nova Scotia coast

A tanker carrying crude oil is adrift off the coast of Nova Scotia after losing steering Tuesday night.

Canadian Coast Guard says vessel carrying crude oil lost steering Tuesday evening

The Australian Spirit, pictured in February, is adrift 40 nautical miles off the coast of Nova Scotia after losing steering. It is carrying crude oil. (Courtesy Jack Ronalds)

A tanker carrying 90,000 tonnes of crude oil is adrift off the coast of Nova Scotia after losing steering Tuesday evening.

The Canadian Coast Guard says there's no danger to the crew of nearly two dozen on board the Australian Spirit. It says it is monitoring environmental risks, but so far there are no issues.
The course of the Australian Spirit from Tuesday morning until the crude oil tanker lost steering that evening off the coast of Nova Scotia. (marinetraffic.com)

"Obviously the vessel’s carrying a large quantity of persistent oil, so that is a concern to us," said Keith Laidlaw, a senior response officer with the Coast Guard. He added, however, that the vessel is in no immediate danger.

The 250-metre ship is roughly 40 nautical miles from Chebucto Head, near Halifax. The ship was travelling from Placentia, N.L., to New York.

The Coast Guard says the rough weather caused by a storm creeping through the Maritimes has made repairs to the steering impossible. Laidlaw said there are gale force winds and four-metre waves.

The Australian Spirit still has power and engines, he said, which means tugs will be able to steer the ship while it motors to port. It's not clear yet where the ship will go.

One tug, the Atlantic Larch, has already joined the Australian Spirit. Another tug from Halifax is set to meet the ship this afternoon.

The Coast Guard vessel Earl Grey is also on site.

Teekay Corporation, the company that owns the Australian, says crew and cargo are safe. It has chartered both the tugs and is covering the costs.

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