Ladysmith Maritime Society managing director Rod Smith believes the Laurier II

Ladysmith Maritime Society managing director Rod Smith believes the Laurier II

Marine society raises safety concerns over derelict vessel

Laurier II towed into Ladysmith Harbour earlier this month from up Island

  • Sep. 20, 2016 8:00 a.m.

Rick StiebelThe Chronicle

The problem of a derelict vessel plaguing the entrance to Ladysmith Harbour has surfaced again.

The 36-metre Laurier II was towed to the harbour on Sept. 6 by the Coast Guard after spending  several months in Deep Bay Harbour.

It is the latest vessel to pose problems at Ladysmith Marina, said Rod Smith, managing director for the Ladysmith Marine Society.

“Derelict vessels have been a problem on the coast for years,” Smith said. “We had no idea it was coming. What bothers us is that it’s tied up 100 feet off the main dock. It’s a navigational hazard, especially in rough weather. And it’s a real eyesore. We have 5,000 visitors a year that come right  past that vessel and that’s the first impression they get.”

Smith said his first encounter with  a similar situation was with the Viki Lyne II, which  ended up in the harbour in 2012.

More recently, he said it took months to get rid of the Silver King this spring, a decommissioned vessel that caught on fire twice before it was removed.

“We had people complaining about the noise and the smell,” Smith noted.

The Canadian Coast Guard said at the time it was in “imminent danger” of sinking, Smith said. “It had 33,000 litres of fuel sloshing around in the hull,” he said. He credited former NDP MP Jean Crowder and current Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson for assisting the society in dealing with the problem.

Malcolmson was scheduled to address the situation in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

“In the absence of a Canada-wide plan to deal with these abandoned vessels, we are left asking for emergency responses to the risks they pose on a ship-by-ship, case-by-case basis,” Malcolmson said in a media release. “We need legislation that allows us to be proactive and take action before these vessels become an environmental hazard.”

A spokesperson for Saltair Marine Services said they are looking after the vessel for the owner at this time.

Malcolmson has proposed a regulatory solution that would give the Coast Guard authority to deal with the hundreds of abandoned vessels that pose problems. It is expected Bill C-219 will be debated in Parliament next year.