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A Canadian Coast Guard helicopter flies near a Russian container ship, carrying hundreds of tons of fuel drifting without power in rough seas off British Columbia's northern coast on Oct. 17.Department of National Defense Maritime Forces Pacific / The Canadian Press via AP

A large tug boat was pulling a disabled Russian cargo ship along British Columbia's coast after it detached earlier Saturday, ending fears that the vessel carrying hundreds of tons of fuel would drift ashore, hit rocks and spill.

Lt. Paul Pendergast of the Canadian Forces' Joint Rescue Co-ordination Center said the Barbara Foss arrived Saturday evening and the tow of the Simushir was going well.

The Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid earlier towed the disabled ship away from shore, but a towline got detached and the ship was adrift again for six hours Saturday. The Russian carrier lost power off Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, as it made its way from Everett in Washington state to Russia.

The fear of oil spills is especially acute in British Columbia, where residents remember the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989. About 5,000 people live on the island and fish for food nearby, the president of the Council of the Haida Nation, Pete Lantin, said.


— The Associated Press