A 33-foot wooden boat known as the Baltic II is now a relic of the past in Baynes Sound.
On Friday, Feb. 7 at approximately 9 a.m., the Coast Guard towed the derelict vessel away from the Deep Bay Harbour, removed it from the water and disposed of it at an appropriate facility.
According to Coast Guard communications officer Dan Bate, the vessel posed a significant threat to the surrounding environment.
“We found the vessel had the likelihood of causing marine pollution in the area by the quantity and type of fuel aboard,” said Bate.
As a result, the Coast Guard and Transport Canada Receiver of Wreck took action and confiscated the vessel.
Bate said “several attempts” were made to contact the owner, but “no response has been received.”
VIU Field Marine Station manager Brian Kingzett said this is something he has been waiting years to see.
He said derelict vessels clogging up the Deep Bay Harbour have been an ongoing source of frustration.
Kingzett said within one kilometre of the Baltic II there are six commercial shellfish aquaculture operations and four shellfish nursery operations at risk.
“The Baltic itself was within the tenure belonging to the VIU Deep Bay Marine Field Station, which is an experimental shellfish farm currently hosting a variety of industry and academic research projects,” said Kingzett. “All together this is an $11 million facility of Vancouver Island University which is dependent on the ecological integrity of the local marine system.”
The Baltic II is just one of 15 derelict vessels identified in a Jan. 27 survey taken by Kingzett and RDN director Bill Veenhof in response to Transport Canada.
The issue of abandoned vessels is becoming ubiquitous around British Columbia.
Currently legislation surrounding derelict vessels puts the problem between federal and provincial jurisdictions, while the Coast Guard and municipalities also play an active role in policing the boats.
Bate said the Coast Guard is “conducting an overall assessment of the area and will continue to monitor and assess the situation along with colleagues at Transport Canada.”