Waiting: The ship was anchored off St George’s yesterday.  *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Waiting: The ship was anchored off St George’s yesterday.  *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, SEPT. 21: A tanker has been left in limbo off Bermuda for nearly three days, waiting to deliver fuel for BELCO because two of the island’s tug boats are out of action.

The mooring overtime bill, which is expected to spiral into tens of thousands of dollars, will be picked up by BELCO.

Butterfly was due to come into the Oil Docks in St George’s on Wednesday at 6:30am after arriving on Tuesday at 3:30pm from the Bahamas.

But she was unable to come alongside because two of Marine and Ports’ three tugs; Faithful and Edward M Stowe, are currently undergoing repairs.

Last night a BELCO spokeswoman told the Bermuda Sun: “We have had excellent service from Government tugs in the past. This is the first time there has been a situation where two tugs were not available. We have been advised that the second tug should be available this (Thursday) afternoon or evening, so the ship will likely dock this evening or tomorrow (Friday) morning. Delays do occur and are a part of the cost of doing business.”

The spokeswoman declined to comment on the additional costs incurred by the problem.

Esso shipping regulations state that two tugboats must be present whenever a tanker comes alongside at the Oil Docks in St George’s because it is an exposed berth.

The Bermuda Sun understands that the tugboat Powerful is currently in working condition.

But her sister boat Faithful began to experience mechanical problems on Tuesday and has been out of action undergoing repair work in Dockyard since.

Edward M Stowe, which serves as a reserve tug in emergency situations, has been out of action for some time.

Joe Simas, Vice President of Meyer Shipping, which is acting as agent for Butterfly, said: “We are hopeful that Butterfly will be able to berth at the oil docks on Friday morning.

“If all goes well she will sail back to the Bahamas on Saturday morning.”

A spokesman for Marine and Ports told the Bermuda Sun: “The Department of Marine and Ports confirms that the tug Faithful is currently out of service.

“Marine & Ports technical staff are actively working to complete the required engine repairs and all shipping interests are being kept updated on this unfortunate situation.

“The Department expects the outcome of repair efforts to be known later this (Thursday) evening such that berthing operations might then proceed Friday morning.”