Thirty-three people were rescued from a whale watching vessel Tuesday afternoon after a mechanical issue involving one of the two engines on the catamaran.
According to Wild Whales Vancouver, the engine malfunction was reported when the vessel, the MV Jing Yu, was in the Georgia Strait, near Bowen Island.
Dylan Carter, maritime search and rescue co-ordinator, said JRCC received the mayday call around 11:43 a.m. with the crew onboard reporting an engine fire.
BC Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said the coast guard contacted them regarding a vessel in distress at approximately 11:45 a.m. The Queen of Cowichan, which was travelling from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay, stood by until the coast guard arrived. The ferry was then able to continue to Horseshoe Bay about 25 minutes behind schedule.
JRCC dispatched two Canadian Coast Guard boats, a naval training vessel and a coast guard hovercraft to the area, which Carter said was between Vancouver and Nanaimo. By the time the coast guard got to the MV Jing Yu, the fire had been put out by the onboard fire suppression system.
#BCFHeadsUp Please be aware the #QueenofCowichan is currently delayed 25 minutes as the vessel was responding to a distress call. The vessel has since been released from responding and is now continuing on to #HorseshoeBay ^gl
— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) October 23, 2018
Thirty-two passengers and one crew member were picked up from the MV Jing Yu by the Canadian Coast Guard and were brought back to Vancouver by a hovercraft. The boat’s skipper chose to stay behind with the boat. There were no reports of any injuries.
@VicJRCC_CCCOS responded to a MAYDAY at 1144 from whale watching vessel JING YU due to an engine fire. Fire is out and all 34 passengers are being returned to shore by @CoastGuardCAN hovercraft SIYAY. Thanks to @BCFerries QUEEN OF COWICHAN and PCT RAVEN for the quick response. pic.twitter.com/51FBLoZ7Ak
— Victoria JRCC CCCOS (@VicJRCC_CCCOS) October 23, 2018
The MV Jing Yu is now being towed back to shore by another Wild Whales Vancouver vessel.