Haley Rtichie / Squamish Chief
Transport Canada removes abandoned vessel from Mamquam Blind
Tue Jan 9, 2018 9:30am

Transport Canada removes abandoned vessel from Mamquam Blind Channel
Human waste and hydrocarbons were removed from the boat by the Canadian Coast Guard six months ago
Haley Rtichie / Squamish Chief

January 8, 2018 05:42 PM

Photo taken Jan. 1 by John Buchanan, showing the sunken vessel tied off on shore.

Local conservationist John Buchanan said he found the small, half-sunk sailboat in the channel during a walk on New Years Day, directly across from the Yacht Club on land owned by Bosa Properties.

Buchanan notified the Ministry of Environment and the Coast Guard and said he planned to recruit volunteers for a clean-up operation over the weekend if nothing was done.

Fortunately, the vessel was removed from the water by Transport Canada on Jan. 2, according to Bosa Properties spokesperson Jeff Levine.

The developer has been working with Transport Canada to remove abandoned boats from the Blind Channel, since the property is the best spot to safely bring them to land.

Levine said the Anacortes was previously unclaimed and anchored in the middle of the Channel. He said in the summer the Coast Guard removed “a large quantity of hydrocarbons and human waste stored within gasoline containers.”

Transport Canada then secured the vessel to the shore earlier in the year so it could be disposed of before winter storms could sink it.

Levine said low tides and the holiday winter storm ruptured the boat’s keel, causing it to sink in the shallow bay in late December.

“This was the worst case scenario that had the potential of occurring but there was no harm to the environment danger as the hydrocarbons were removed and the boat was easily removed from the water and disposed of,” he said.

Photos taken by Buchanan on Jan. 1 show the boat tied off on the shore but tipped over to one side. The contents remaining inside the boat included jerry cans, plastic garbage and blocks of foam.

Michelle Imbeau, communications advisor with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said the Coast Guard investigated the boat on Dec. 31 after Buchanan’s call, but “it was determined not to be polluting, therefore no further actions were taken.”

Derelict boats are a recurring problem in the channel, and have a variety of possible environmental consequences.

Buchanan has volunteered with multiple cleanups in similar situations. In March, he reported the sunken Seamee II, a 25-foot wooden yacht found in the Cattermole Slough that also had fuel leaking.

“An active fuel spill obviously has an impact on fish and wildlife. The longer impact is the garbage. Everything that is plastic will eventually disintegrate and go into the ocean,” he said.

“Sometimes there’s paint cans or something in there that will rust through and leak, causing an impact to the environment. My first response is usually to try and get all the paint cans out of there right away

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