A barge seen listing heavily just off a popular North Saanich park has been raising questions and concerns since it was spotted Saturday evening night.
Carrying a load of soil or fill, dog walkers at Cy Hampson park expressed worries that the barge could continue to sink, and wondered whether the material, some of which appeared to have spilled over the sidewall, could be contaminated.
Ship-tracking website marinetraffic.com showed the tug accompanying the barge, the Seaspan Cutlass, left Esquimalt Harbour around 7:40am Saturday and circled off the Saanich Peninsula later that afternoon before settling off the park Saturday evening.
The Canadian Coast Guard says the material on the barge is from a dredging operation, and the load had shifted during towing. But the Coast Guard says at this point they have no concerns around safety or pollution, and the incident is under Seaspan’s control.
Seaspan didn’t respond to multiple phone calls seeking information during the course of the day Sunday.
Later in the afternoon, the tug moved the barge farther south, and left it in a sheltered cove off of the Tsawout First Nation before returning to Esquimalt Harbour.
UPDATE: After the original story went to air, a Seaspan spokesperson said the barge and material it was carrying belong to Vancouver Pile Driving. That company has been doing dredging work in Esquimalt Harbour, and was involved in another barge accident earlier in May, when a barge grounded in Plumper Bay, spilling 30,000 litres of diesel into the water off of the Songhees First Nation.
No one from Vancouver Pile Driving could be reached for comment Sunday evening.