Police concerned with derelict boats

Two vessels remain partially submerged near Oak Bay Marina

Police officers inspect the two partially submerged boats near Oak Bay Marina.

Police officers inspect the two partially submerged boats near Oak Bay Marina.

Police looked over a pair of derelict boats off shore from Beach Avenue last month.

On May 20, an RCMP member and an Oak Bay Police officer boated out to two sunken boats attached to a buoy that have garnered some attention in recent months.

Oak Bay Police Deputy Chief Kent Thom pulled out his contacts in place from a big multi-jurisdictional clean up of derelict boats in the area last spring.

“One of our members was by there and when the tide is out the boats are quite accessible,” Thom said.

Cpl. Larry Jacobs of the RCMP South Island Integrated Marine Unit and Oak Bay Const. Markus Lueder made the visit

“They were taking a closer look to determine how they could get the boats out of there,” said Thom. “We try to collectively address the issue.”

Abandoned, derelict and sunken vessels in coastal waters are caught in a quagmire of responsibilities.

The two currently off Beach Drive near Oak Bay Marina have been there since mid-March.

A private member’s bill by Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder asking to designate responsibility for derelict vessels to the Canadian Coast Guard failed to receive approval from the Conservative government last month.

Environment Canada and Transport Canada are currently among the list of those responsible for cleanup if navigation or pollution are concerns. Transport Canada, as receiver of wrecks, says it’s monitoring the two boats and there has been no salvage claim.

“Transport Canada’s assessment has not changed: the vessels do not pose an obstruction to navigation,” said Sau Sau Liu, regional communications officer with Transport Canada “At this time, Transport Canada is no longer pursuing any action to have them removed. In addition, the owners have not come forward to take any action related to the vessels.”