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VIDEO: Old Highway Thru Hell tow truck helps move 850-tonne ship at B.C. shipyard

Peninsula Towing purchased HR126 or “Pug” two weeks ago

Known to Discovery Channel fans as HR126 or Pug, a retired Highway Thru Hell tow truck was on scene at a Victoria shipyard Thursday afternoon to take on one of its biggest jobs yet – shifting an 850-tonne Canadian Coast Guard ship.

The heavy wrecker tow truck was acquired by Peninsula Towing just two weeks ago and Thursday’s task was the first real test of the machine. Unfortunately, owner Don Affleck said, they had no idea until they got to the Point Hope Maritime Shipyard that one of the truck’s two winches wasn’t working.

“We had to work very creatively to complete that job,” he said. “That job required well over 35,000, probably 40,000 pounds worth of pull and we only had 25,000 to work with.”

The task was to shift the enormous vessel from the turn table, where it had been undergoing repairs to the launch carriage, to where it will be released from early Friday morning. Affleck said they had their second heavy wrecker tow truck on hand in case they needed it, but by using multiple vehicles were able to shift the ship without resorting to Plan B.

The towing company’s other heavy wrecker tow truck is also a Highway Thru Hell relic. A 1999 Kenworth W900, HR52 only appeared once in the very first episode of the reality TV show. Affleck said when he first bought it he had never even heard of the show.

When he bought HR126 though, Affleck knew exactly where it was coming from. Based out of Hope, B.C., Highway Thru Hell documents the harrowing experiences of Jamie Davis Motor Trucking as they rescue and recover vehicles along the Coquihalla and interior B.C. highways.

RELATED: New season of Highway Thru Hell kicks off with snowstorm on Coquihalla

Affleck said when they aren’t using their heavy wreckers at shipyards they’re out recovering heavy vehicles and towing semi-trailers. The snow in the last week has kept them especially busy.

“They’re mighty trucks and we certainly put them to use,” he said.

RELATED: Greater Victoria tow operators at a loss with abandoned vehicles

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media after starting as a community reporter in Greater Victoria.
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