Seaspan barge full of wood chips nearly tips off Vancouver Island coast

Tug and listing barge drifted through Haro Strait Wednesday morning

A Saanich mariner on his way to the Gulf Islands on Wednesday morning posted a photo of a Seaspan barge drifting sideways between Pender and Salt Spring islands.

Ian Hinkle was headed to salvage a derelict boat with the Cold Water Divers crew when he first saw the barge at about 7:15 a.m. He tweeted a photo of the listing barge and some of its load, wood chips, floating in the Salish Sea. The tug boat operator was circling in an attempt to right the barge.

Seaspan spokesperson Corinna Bork said the affected barge is an unpowered vessel with no fuel or petroleum products on board.

It tipped sideways from an incident around 1 a.m. The barge, carrying wood chips, heeled heavily to its port side. It may have occurred due to the ebb tide as the tug pulled it around Stuart Island, an island just south of Pender in U.S. waters.

By 9:45 a.m. the barge had drifted south in the Haro Straight, just east of Swartz Bay and Portland Island.

The barge was mostly righted by about 10:15 a.m.

“The barge remained under control by its towing tug and continued underway at reduced speed,” Bork said. “A detailed investigation of the incident is currently underway.”

There were no injuries associated with the incident. Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board have been notified of the event.

READ MORE: Dead Boat society moving towards 100 wrecks removed from Salish Sea

reporter@oakbaynews.com


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