By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: May 25, 2013
A 40-foot landing craft was pulled out of the Howe Sound waters on April 20, a week after the 1940-build craft sank into the water few weeks ago.
A truck parked on the craft was also retrieved from the waters.
A thin sheen of oil was still visible as a crane pulled up the old craft that would eventually be taken to Sechelt to be broken as scrap.
The craft had been parked in the blind channel for over five years, said Steen Larsen, the caretaker of the boat.
Larsen said it’s a mystery how the craft sank.
“We don’t know anything about how it sank, it’s a mystery to me,” he said.
On Saturday, a mechanical crew was busy fixing the leak on the barge that would enable them to take it to Sechelt.
Watching closely from his boat was Don Robson, a local tug boat skipper.
“It’s just sad to see all the oil spilling into the water here,” he said.
“It can’t be any good.”
Larsen, however, claimed the fuel spill was insignificant.
“There was no fuel in the tank, it was empty,” he claimed.
Canadian Coast Guard officials could not be contacted, but an official was quoted in the Chief newspaper saying the vessel was leaking light oil or diesel in limited amounts.
The spokesperson, Dan Bate, told the paper several bales of sorbent boom were fixed with anchoring around the site to contain the leaked fuel.
If the spill was uncontained, it could have killed all recently laid intertidal Herring eggs, says Squamish Streamkeeper Jack Colley.
“Subtidal herring eggs would probably survive, and other fish can swim away and not be greatly affected,” Colley said.
In an interview with the Chief recently, Larsen had said he was sure his boats won’t sink.
“My boats are environmentally safe and will not sink, you can be sure of that,” he told local writer Ana Santos.
The landing craft was built in 1940, Larsen said, who didn’t own the craft, but claimed he was working on a deal with the owner.
Larsen said he planned to use the craft for transporting goods, and its sinking was unexpected.
“There was no prior warning, or I would have dealt with it,” he said.
Old, derelict, and abandoned ships are a growing problem in the province.
There is no inventory of derelict or abandoned boats in the province, although Transport Canada is said to be working on one.
Its final report was expected to be complete last summer.
Some unofficial estimates, however, have put the number of derelict ships at 200.
Sheila Malcolmson, the chair of Islands Trust BC, said there isn’t enough federal government regulation of abandoned or derelict shops on B.C. waters.