NTCL tug runs aground near Lutsel K’e

photo courtesy of Facebook A tugboat owned by Northern Transportation Company Limited ran aground near Lutsel K'e on July 26.

photo courtesy of Facebook
A tugboat owned by Northern Transportation Company Limited ran aground near Lutsel K’e on July 26.

A tugboat owned by Northern Transportation Company Limited (NTCL) ran aground near Lutsel K’e on July 26, and as of late last week efforts were underway to free the vessel.

“We can confirm that on the night of July 26 the Kelly Ovayuak tug went aground approximately two-three miles outside Lutsel K’e,” stated Nathan Graham, chief corporate officer of the Inuvialuit Corporate Group, in one of two news releases obtained by The Hub on July 28 and 29. “There have been no reported injuries or fuel on the water.”

The Inuvialuit Corporate Group is the parent company of NTCL.

“As with any incident, the safety of our employees is always top of mind and we take this seriously,” said Graham.

As of late last week, an NTCL emergency response team was in place to direct and co-ordinate the operation to free the tug, which was pushing barges at the time.

“The response team, including the captain of the Kelly Ovayuak tug, continues to meet twice daily to assess options and agree on process,” Graham stated. “The Kelly Ovayuak is stable and weather conditions are good. The Edgar Kotokak tug is on site and the process to free the Kelly Ovayuak has begun.”

All government agencies, including Transport Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard, have been fully informed by the NTCL response team.

Graham said more details would be available at a later date.

Deliveries to Lutsel K’e, including fuel to the GNWT, were completed before the incident.

“We are working as quickly as possible to complete the remaining deliveries and will be providing updates as they become available,” said Graham, adding that NTCL’s primary focus is securing the tug and barges and escorting them back to Hay River for repairs.

The company official said there would be a “fulsome investigation” into the cause of the incident.

–Paul Bickford