Radioactive cargo held off Ladysmith

Rough seas damaged the radioactive cargo of a ship bound for China and forced the crew to anchor in the waters off Ladysmith.


Rough seas damaged the radioactive cargo of a ship bound for China and forced the crew to anchor in the waters off Ladysmith.

The ship left Vancouver on Dec. 23 but was forced to turn back partway between Hawaii and the island of Midway by a violent storm that damaged two cargo drums of uranium concentrate.

The uranium was sealed in the ship’s hold while repairs were made and officials say there was no risk to the public or the environment.

• Members of the Schooner Cove Yacht Club are organizing themselves for the upcoming sailing season.

Commodore Ron Davis reports the spring pub crawl and summer Broughton sailing trip already have leaders signed on and the position of yearbook editor has been filled.

Davis noted the club’s sailing program is being expanded considerably, supplementing the official races with a number of fun races, in order to involve more members.

As well, the club is organizing a trip to the upcoming Vancouver Boat Show.

• When mariners get in trouble and send out a call for help, the Nanaimo Coast Guard Auxiliary’s new rescue boat will be able to race to the rescue, regardless of how rotten the weather.

The new, 10-metre, $500,000 ship is designed to right itself if it capsizes and has four watertight compartments to make sure the boat stays on the top of the water, regardless of conditions. One of the key features of the vessel is its enclosed cabin, which gives the crew the sense of security needed to head out in a howling gale and come back safely.

• It’s pretty hard to listen to sensitive underwater acoustic devices while a diesel engine is thundering along beneath you.

That’s one reason why a former Coast Guard vessel, the Tsekoa II, is being refitted with a $17.8 million electric propulsion system.

The system will allow scientists to undertake sensitive acoustic studies on marine mammals and other projects.

The ship will also have a diesel engine to be used as backup.

• The Deep Bay Yacht Club is looking for input for their weekly meetings.

That input is all about fun however, about favourite anchorages, fishing secrets and tips on wht kind of exotic dishes can be cooked in one pot during a rolling sea.

Of course, with spring just around the corner – no, really — they are also looking for tips on what needs to be done to get boats ready before venturing onto the water this summer.

Wreck of the week

• When the Irene W went to the bottom in Deep Bay on Saturday, she had just changed hands.

“A week before the boat went down, it changed ownership,” said Victor Sherwood, a boat owner who first raised the alarm about the sinking. “The new owner was supposed to get it towed over to Hornby. It wasn’t even supposed to be here, but the person who was going to tow it away was on holiday. He didn’t get back until the day it went down.”

That new owner could be on the hook for the cost of boat recovery, which Sherwood suggested could run as high as $20,000.

“Just the barge and crane itself could be that much,” he said. “That’s a lot of machinery.”

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