Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Queen Of The North sinks

Good morning. If you're from British Columbia, sit down. The BC ferry Queen of The North has sunk just south of Prince Rupert after hitting a rock at 12:43 AM today.

All 102 passengers and crew have been accounted for after the ferry they were travelling in sank off the coast of British Columbia near the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Apparently the 125 meter (385 foot) ship hit a rock in the vicinity of Douglas Channel and took about an hour to sink. Everyone got off safely with nothing more than minor injuries.

More here.

Update 1: BC Ferries has suspended service on the northern route from Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert. No ship.

Update 2: There were 101 people onboard, all of whom were rescued. There were 16 cars onboard which will make the crabs very happy. They have a particular fondness for anything resembling an old Chevy.

Oh by the way: When a ship like that sinks, most of the fuel leaks out. BC ferries uses light diesel and most of the cars will be gasoline powered. While there will be a pollution problem it will be short. Both diesel and and gas evaporate relatively quickly.

Update 3: I have listened to three successive Global TV reports which stated, "All 101 people onboard were rescued. There were 59 passengers and 43 crew." I'm sorry, but I'm not that bad at arithmetic. 59 + 43 = 102. Silly Global reporter.
Rescue Coordination Centre reports 101 people onboard and BC Ferries has confirmed that.

Update 4: The CBC report is incorrect in terms of where QOTN went down. It was on the inside passage; nowhere near the Queen Charlotte Islands. For what it's worth, the Queen Charlotte Islands are now cut-off. The Queen of Prince Rupert is out of service for a refit which puts the islands in a position of having no sea transportation available. BC Ferries has no other ships which would be able to service that route, nor which can handle Hecate Strait at this time of year.

Update 5: The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfred Laurier is remaining on scene of the sinking of Queen of The North. There is some question as to the number of passengers onboard. Original reports stated 102 and that was amended to 101. Because of the confusion, Rescue Centre Victoria will keep assets looking until they are told the numbers are accurate.
The actual location of the sinking was a rock off Gil Island in Wright Sound. I know which rock it is and I also know if the ferry didn't come to rest on that rock that it sank in very deep water.

Update 6: It looks like they've accounted for everyone now. All are safe. The fishing village at Hartley Bay is credited with having saved most of the survivors very quickly. The ship itself sank in about 600 feet of water. It is extremely unlikely anyone will even think of attempting to salvage it. One survivor says that the ship actually broke in two. I have a doubt about that. It probably slid in, bow first.

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