Coast Guard won’t remove Viki Lyne II

Is looking at measures to reduce environmental risk

It’s unlikely the Viki Lyne II will be removed from Ladysmith Harbour by the Coast Guard a spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Pacific Region has told the Chronicle.

Communications Officer Dan Bate, responding to questions from the Chronicle, said in an Aug. 11 email that the Canadian Coast Guard will take “reasonable measures to minimize the risk of a pollution incident occurring and will continue to monitor the vessel and area for any changes in condition or risk.”

But he adds, “It is important to note that those measures are unlikely to include removal of the ship from Ladysmith Harbour.”

The Viki Lyne II has raised concerns of both the Stz’uminus First Nation, which harvests shellfish in Ladysmith Harbour, and the Town of Ladysmith, which is concerned over the risk the Viki Lyne II poses to tourism and recreational activities.

A 2012 marine survey, which was commissioned by the Coast Guard, warned that the hull of the 54 year-old trawler is severely corroded, and may even be eaten through, and that the vessel is at ‘immanent’ risk of sinking. The report said removal and scrapping of the derelict vessel would be the only sure way of eliminating the risk.

Bate said the Coast Guard is looking for ways of removing 13,000 litres of ‘oil and oily water’ from the Viki Lyne II, in addition to the 20,000 litres of fuel that were removed from the vessel last fall.

“Some remaining pollutants may be considered a safety risk, so specialists in pollutant removal – other than regular fuel oil – are being solicited using PWGSC (Public Works and Government Services Canada) contracting support,” his email states.

“This work will further reduce the environmental risk presented by the vessel.”

Bate also countered information that the Canadian Coast Guard had moved the Viki Lyne II into Ladysmith Harbour. He said the Viki Lyne II was moved from Dunsmuir Island in 2012 by its owner working “with a local contractor” because it was dragging anchor and at risk of grounding.

“Arrangements were made by the owner to secure it at Ladysmith Harbour,” Bate said. “There was no contract or direction from the Coast Guard to move or relocate the vessel to Ladysmith Harbour.”

He said the Coast Guard will monitor the ship and be prepared to take measures if necessary. “Should the situation escalate, CCG ER personnel are ready to respond with vessels, equipment, and contractors to mitigate any potential impact on the marine environment,” Bate said.

As for use and activity on the vessel while it is moored in Ladysmith Harbour, Bate said that’s not within the Coast Guard’s responsibility. “CCG’s mandate with respect of Viki Lyne II surrounds any potential to pollute local waters,” he said. “Other issues, such as use, fall outside the purview of the department.”