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Cowichan Bay looks like it’s back where it started on derelict Dominion

The Dominion continues to create concern in Cowichan Bay. -
The Dominion continues to create concern in Cowichan Bay.
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Derelict ship Dominion is listing again in Cowichan Bay and Director Lori Iannidinardo wants its fuel and oil pumped to prevent fouling of the sensitive bay.

Iannidinardo said Wednesday she aims to take the pump-out issue to the Cowichan Valley Regional District board.

She also continues corresponding with Robert Hall, Dominion’s Oregon-based owner.

“There are no lights on it. It’s a danger to navigation,” she fumed.

Iannidinardo’s frustrated after years of provincial and federal buck-passing about what she and locals — including bay watchdog Guy Johnston — fear is an eco-calamity waiting to happen.

There are no federal laws stopping Hall from parking his vessel in the bay for the past five or so years.

The issue of allowing the feds to seize derelict crafts, such as Dominion, was raised in a Parliamentary private member’s bill proposed last year by local MP Jean Crowder.

Iannidinardo also talked to Steve Thomson, B.C.’s natural resources minister, last fall about securing Dominion.

“I’ve heard nothing,” she said.

The volume of Dominion’s fuel and oil is unknown.

Coast Guard crews boarded the boat in fall 2010 and stabilized her from listing.

Prospective buyer Steen Larsen secured the vandalized boat, and did other improvements last year.

His deal with Hall has foundered.

Fisherman Johnston believed metal pirates boarded Dominion recently.

“It’s listing to port, and doors have been broken open in the wheelhouse and cabin.”

He’s dismayed there doesn’t seem to be anyone watching the abandoned vessel.

“Our fear is the effect (fuel pollution) would have on salmon, prawns and crabs.

“We’ll pay 10 to 15 times more to clean up the bay instead of pumping it out now.”

Johnston wants Hall billed for the Coast Guard’s work.

Iannidinardo said that may have happened already.

Coast Guard agents failed to return calls by  press time.

Meanwhile, Iannidinardo’s worried Dominion will sink if she isn’t secured.

That would be ironic given the bay will be home to a new Estuary Nature Centre by March.

“The danger to our bay has been constant,” she said.

“We’re trying to teach and educate the public while starring at this mess — that’s a disgrace.”

Right, said Kai Reitzel of the eco-centre’s Cowichan Land Trust.

“If the Dominion sank, it would be a catastrophe.”

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