The container ship lost its secondary hydraulic steering system, but its primary steering system is functional.
Due to high winds and other unfavorable sea and weather conditions, the Coast Guard today issued a Captain of the Port order requiring a tug escort for the container ship all the way to its destination in Seattle.
The Gladiator will meet the APL Australia near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca around 6 p.m. and provide escort halfway to Port Angeles. A different tug will escort the ship into Seattle.
The APL Australia left Hong Kong on Jan. 28 and was slated to arrive at Terminal 5 in Elliott Bay Friday. Somewhere during its transit across the Pacific, the container ship lost its backup steering system.
The state has contracted to station a standby emergency response tug at Neah Bay since spring 1999.
The tug has stood by or assisted 39 ships that were disabled or had reduced maneuvering or propulsion capability while transporting oil and other cargo along the coast and through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The actions helped ensure the ships didn’t drift onto rocks and spill oil.