News

Sinking trawler leaves diesel sheen in Cowichan Bay

This privately owned trawler took on water for unknown reasons Friday morning and sunk off Cowichan Bay before being towed to near Hecate Park, leaving oil-diesel fuel in its wake, the Coast Guard said. - Peter W. Rusland
This privately owned trawler took on water for unknown reasons Friday morning and sunk off Cowichan Bay before being towed to near Hecate Park, leaving oil-diesel fuel in its wake, the Coast Guard said.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

It is still unknown why a 40-foot trawler sunk in Cowichan Bay late Thursday, or early Friday, leaving a sheen of diesel fuel in its wake, Coast Guard officials say.

The vessel's name is still unknown, and the names of its owners are not being released by the Coast Guard.

Those owners are responsible for salvaging the vessel — now being pumped out — and hauling it from the bay, Coast Guard agent Dan Bate told the News Leader Pictorial Friday afternoon.

Coast Guard officials earlier said the boat leaked about 200 square meters of oil-diesel into the sensitive bay.

But Bate said most of the vessel's fuel was removed after the boat sunk earlier this week, also for unknown reasons, off Pender Island.

"There's now a light, unrecoverable sheen in Cowichan Bay," he said.

It was unknown if any bay wildlife was affected, Bate noted.

The fuel skim will dissipate through wave action and evaporation, he added.

The incident was first attended Friday morning by the 47-foot Coast Guard cutter Cape Naden after a call from the bay's wharfinger.

Cape Naden left when a smaller Coast Guard pollution-control vessel arrived.

It stood down when recoverable fuel wasn't found in the bay, Bate said.

"The owners are awaiting (low) tides to remove the boat."

The owners are also responsible for any clean-up bills, he said.

Bate was unaware if Transport Canada is investigating concerning seaworthiness of the partially submerged trawler towed Friday afternoon to just off Hecate Park's boat-ramp area.

The feds noted the vessel is not the derelict Dominion that's legally sat in the bay for about five years.

Bay Director Lori Iannidinardo is still trying to secure funds to pump out Dominion's unknown volume of fuel, in case  it sinks.

MP Jean Crowder is pursuing federal legislation to confiscate derelict vessels dotting Canada's shores, and to take action against their owners.

 

 

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