Derelict vessels include more than the ones we see

Editorial

Tuesday, October 31 2017

On Saturday, October 21, a 90 foot wooden vessel built in 1918, named the Anapaya, sank and leaked fuel in Ladysmith Harbour. 

According to the federal NDP, Transport Canada was aware of the vessel’s risk, but failed to take any action until after the sinking and resulting oil spill.

“The government knew this vessel poised a significant threat but took no action until after it was too late,” Sheila Malcolmson, NDP MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, said in Question Period in the House of Commons on Tuesday, October 26. 

“We’re grateful for the Coast Guard’s swift action, but this is just the latest example of the Liberals’ failed boat-by-boat approach on abandoned vessels.”

Malcolmson says her Bill C-352 will fix vessel registration, pilot a vessel turn-in program, create good green jobs by supporting local marine salvage businesses and vessel recycling, and end jurisdictional disputes by making the Coast Guard responsible for directing the removal of abandoned vessels. 

Debate on the bill will take place in the coming weeks.

On October 23, BC Ferries had to reroute all sailings from Duke Point to Departure Bay after one of their vessels leaked 120L of hydraulic fluid.

Containment equipment was deployed, but a slick still made it out into the waters between Duke Point and Gabriola.

For those concerned with what 120L of hydraulic fluid can do to the waters off Gabriola, consider there’s still a tugboat, the Albern, sitting on the bottom of the channel. When it went down in 2016, it had capacity for up to 1,500 litres of diesel on board, as well 200L of hydraulic fluid. A second tug, the Samantha J, to the best of the Sounder’s knowledge, is still down there as well. Also with any fuel/liquids on board which didn’t leak at the time of her sinking.

The Nanaimo Port Authority has said it has not tracked how many sunken vessels are located underwater in the NPA’s area.

It is laudable, and necessary, that Malcolmson’s derelict vessel bill get put through.

Once we can deal with the derelicts sitting on top of, or party under, the water - we can start to deal with the other ones deeper down.