Boating tourism in Ladysmith is being threatened by a derelict vessel in the harbour according to the local Town council and Maritime Society.
The adjacent Ladysmith marina has undergone major improvements since 2012.
“If that vessel were to go down, there’s a lot of activity in this harbour, four active oyster tenures and a gooey duck industry” said Rod Smith, Managing Director of the Ladysmith Maritime Society.
“Terrible impact on the environment. I’m not sure how long it would take to clean that up if you could clean it up on our lifetime” added Ladysmith Town Councillor Steve Arnett.
There are numerous derelict vessels in the harbour but the most concern revolves around the Viki Lyne 2, which has been in the harbour for ten years.
“You know back in June 2012 a survey commissioned by the Canadian Coast Guard said the the sinking of the Viki Lyne 2 was imminent and at that time it had 33,000 litres of oil on board. We managed working with the Coast Guard to have 20,000 litres pumped out of that but there’s still 13,000 litres in there” said Smith in an interview with CHEK News.
13,000 litres is less than the 5,000 litres in the Silver King which was towed out of Deep Bay last weekend due to fears of the impact it would have to the shellfish industry there if it sank.
Ironically it was towed to Ladysmith where it awaits scrapping by a local company this week.
The message local authorities have to the federal government is, the problem is much larger than the Silver King.
“It is so large in scope now and it is so complex seemingly to get it resolved that it takes a crisis where a boat is actually going to go down before we seem to be able to get people to move” said Arnett.