Tug boat skipper says cement barge hit a reef

Tug boat skipper says cement barge hit a reef
Published: 08 January 2009

A tug boat skipper says he lost control of a barge after it hit a reef, stranding the barge for days on shore near McMicking Point.

The 60-metre barge was loaded with cement when it ran aground on New Year’s Eve.

"Trying to regain control of it we ended up on the beach," said Dave Hodgson, skipper of the Inlet Rover, the lone tug pulling the Lafarge barge from Vancouver to Victoria. The 65-year-old skipper has almost 50 years experience in the marine towing industry and was working that night with his son, Zachary. It was dusk, about 4:45 p.m., when the barge struck the reef. Hodgson said the weight of the barge - it was carrying about 1,200 tonnes of bulk cement - contributed to the difficulties.

"Once things start to go bad it’s very hard to stop them from going very, very bad."

Inlet Rover sustained damage to its tow winch as a result of the mishap. Hodgson said it was not snowing or raining, but was windy. It was the first time a barge under his watch has ended up on the rocks in his 47-year career. Although he has been asked by accident investigators not to discuss the incident, Hodgson said he wanted the public to know the facts.