No injuries were reported, but 19 people were rescued in three separate boating accidents within a three-day span off Vancouver Island recently.
“It’s been a rough week for boats in Georgia Strait,” said Dan Bate, spokesman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
All three incidents are being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board.
The Lasqueti Daughters, a wooden forestry crew boat carrying 15 people, took on water Monday, March 16, off the south end of Cortes Island. The owner, five crew and nine members of a reforestation crew were collected by a trailing crew boat, said Mohan Raman, spokesman for TSB.
The vessel lost debris, but remained afloat overnight, and a commercial tug was contracted Tuesday to tow it to Campbell River.
“It looks like it was a bit of a floating ferry,” said Bate. “There were two pickups aboard as well as propane tanks and other debris. There was an environmental response, but nothing significant.”
Bate said the vessel’s owner undertook efforts to recover drums of gasoline and other flotsam from the incident.
One day earlier, the tug Log Baron sank while towing an empty barge southwest of Egg Island.
“The two crew members jumped into the water, got onto the barge they were towing and released the bridle before the tug sank,” said Raman.
The pair then waited on board the barge and were picked up by a lifeboat from Port Hardy Coast Guard Station and taken to Port Hardy, said Bate.
The third incident took place Wednesday, March 18, when the small tug Syringa sank quickly while towing a roll-on equipment barge five nautical miles from Sechelt.
The two crew members escaped and swam to nearby Mary Island, where they were taken in at the lighthouse station and warmed until they could be evacuated.
No equipment from the barge was lost or damaged in the incident.
The three incidents in such a compressed time frame stretched the resources of the TSB’s Richmond detachment.
“We’re looking to send the two investigators in Campbell River (with Lasqueti Daughters) to meet the crew of this boat (Syringa) on their way back,” said Raman. “We’d had a lull for quite some time; this is the first time we’ve had back-to-back incidents in the same area.”