The Nana Provider, a barge that ran aground on Quadra Island Nov. 9, has been re-floated and transported to the Duncan Bay Marine Terminal just north of Campbell River after spending almost six days of being stuck on the rocks with a damaged hull.
The move came somewhat as a surprise, as just yesterday the Mirror was told by Transport Canada that the salvage contractor for the process was still “developing their plan,” and it was unlikely that the barge would be moved before the weekend, but this morning, a statement went out saying, in part, “Salvage operations took place this morning and the barge is now secured in Duncan Bay and will undergo further assessment and repair. The operation went smoothly.”
Both Transport Canada and the US Coast Guard are monitoring the barge, as the US Coast Guard is actually the “Flag State of Authority” of the responsible party, Lynden Logistics.
The removal comes as a relief to Area C director Jim Abram, who had expressed concern about the expected weather over the next few days.
“The tides were not optimal for them to remove it, and we were supposed to be having 30-knot southeast winds today and then 40-knot southeast winds tomorrow, so when I heard that they probably wouldn’t be moving it until the weekend, that made me concerned that it would have to ride out two significant storms,” Abram says. “Something that big rising and falling on a rock is not a good thing.”
So when he heard that it had been moved, he breathed a sigh of relief.
“Now that it’s been moved to a facility where they can do a proper assessment and hopefully a proper repair makes me feel really good,” he says. “I’m extremely relieved that we didn’t have the catastrophe we could have had, the environment is safe, people are safe, the people who live along the shoreline can now enjoy their view again, the sea lions can go back to diving on their favourite rock and everything is just ducky.”
But that’s just this time, Abram says. Who knows when it might happen again, and with much more dire consequences.
“This was a wake-up call to the people on the inside passage,” he says. “Everybody thinks we’re invulnerable, but we’re clearly not. It was just proven to us. We watch these barges go by us every day – there’s been something like 10,000 of them over the past number of years – with no problem, but this one had a problem. Had it been loaded with rail cars containing toxic chemicals, chlorine gas, whatever, we may have had a serious issue on the shoreline of Quadra Island or the shoreline of Campbell River, with a whole lot more people impacted.”
The Transportation Safety Board also announced today that they have deployed a team of investigators to “gather information and assess the occurrence.”