SHIPPING NEWS: CFMETR event well attended

Normally secretive base opens its doors to the general public

A CH-149 Cormorant from 19 Wing Comox’s 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron conducts a mock search and rescue exercise during CFMETR open house Saturday.

Families from around the area streamed into the CFMETR naval station on Saturday for the annual open house.

Located in Nanoose Bay, the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges (CFMETR) has been sailing out into the Strait of Georgia to test Canadian and U.S. torpedoes since 1965.

Once every two years this base opens its doors to the public to show off the torpedoes, aircraft, ships and personnel that make this facility unique to North America.

Visitors had the opportunity to watch air force planes in action overhead, tour naval vessels including HMCS Ottawa, climb aboard army vehicles and go for a zodiac ride.

One of the highlights of the day was a helicopter demonstration by 19 Wing Comox and the Canadian Coast Guard.

 

 

• The Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre is looking for the public’s assistance in their bid to not only restore Canada’s oldest sailboat to racing form, but also to make a film about the project.

The Dorothy first launched into Victoria’s inner harbour in 1897 and has gone through cycles of neglect and restoration for the 116 ever since.

Now, with the 2014 sailing season firmly in mind, shipwright and artist Tony Grove is leading an effort to restore the ship. At the same time, the centre is in the process of helping to creating a documentary entitled Between Wood and Water, which traces Dorothy’s early history on the west coast to the present day.

A total of $10,000 is needed to complete the film and the Discovery Centre has begun a crowdfunding campaign to raise the cash.

Visit http://www.oceandiscovery.ca for more information on the campaign.

 

• It was one of the worst maritime disasters of all time. On this day in 2002, the Senegalese ferry MV Le Joola capsized off the coast of Gambia killing at least 1,863 people.

When Le Joola set sail on one of its frequent trips between southern Senegal and the country’s capital Dakar, she was carrying nearly 2,000 passengers, although she was designed to carry only 580.

As a live band played, passengers dance and drank until around 11 p.m., when the ship  sailed into a storm off the coast of Gambia.

 

As the seas built up and the wind began to howl, the overloaded ferry first listed and then capsized, turning turtle in less than five minutes. Only 25 people few managed to make it to a lifeboat, while a handful of others were rescued by another ship.

 

 

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