ASTORIA, Ore. — Thirteenth Coast Guard District's new Emergency Towing System, a pre-staged package of equipment that would be delivered to a disabled vessel requiring assistance, was tested by the Coast Guard and members of the commercial fishing and tugboat industry Wednesday, June 13.
The ETS program came into existence following the near grounding of the motor vessel Salica Frigo on March 9, 2007 in Unalaska Bay, Alaska, but Wednesday's exercise marked the beginning of its use in the waters of Washington and Oregon.
The kit can be deployed from a tugboat or helicopter and consists of a lightweight high performance towline, a messenger line used in deploying the towline, a lighted buoy, and chafing gear.
"The safety, security and environmental health of coastal Oregon and Washington, and the Columbia River, is vitally important," said Capt. Bruce Jones, Sector Columbia River Commander. "It is also a shared responsibility of government and the private sector. This exercise exemplifies our collaborative efforts to enhance regional preparedness for emergencies which could threaten our waterways."
Students aboard the Tongue Point Job Corps training vessel Ironwood assisted with the drill and received hands on training with the kit after it was deployed by an MH-60 helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria.
An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria delivers an Emergency Towing System to the Tongue Point Job Corps training vessel Ironwood during a drill Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The ETS is a kit, new to Oregon and Washington, that can be deployed via helicopter or tugboat to disabled vessels in danger of running aground. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Shawn Eggert.
Tongue Point Job Corps students aboard the training vessel Ironwood deliver a tow line to the tugboat Chinook during an Emergency Towing System drill Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The ETS is a kit, new to Oregon and Washington, that can be deployed via helicopter or tugboat to disabled vessels in danger of running aground. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Shawn Eggert.