Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Stoddard Online

Stoddard Online:
A few short hours ago, I was advised of the sinking of one of the ships of the British Columbia Ferry fleet. The "Queen Of The North" had apparently run aground, south of Prince Rupert on the northwest coast of British Columbia. Thankfully, all 99 passengers, plus crew are safe and accounted for.

These people are safe for two chief reasons. Firstly, the expert and professional approach by the crew in the handling of the emergency, and secondly, the close proximity of the ship "Sir Wilfred Laurier" of The Canadian Coast Guard. The Coast Guard Ship was on the scene in less than one hour, and was assisted by local commercial fish boats. Survivors were picked up by the coast guard from lifeboats, and transported to the small Native fishing community of Hartley Bay.

It is extremely sad when it takes a human emergency to get the attention of all levels of government. In this instance, the provincial government has not been acting with expedience in the replacing of certain existing ferries. Technology has changed dramatically in the ship building industry, and many of the ferries in the fleet are more than forty years old. This particular ship was constructed with a single compartment, which means when the hull ruptured, the complete inner cargo area and engine compartments were able to fill up very quickly with water. In a modern constructed ferry with multi independent compartments, only the compartment that was violated would flood, and thus, the ship would not sink.

As well, the federal government should learn a very valuable lesson here. A few years ago they carved the Coast Guard into near oblivion. They closed coast guard bases which forced a vast labor shortage. They also closed many of the manned lighthouse posts, and there was no money made available for new technology and equipment.

I do not pretend to offer the reason why this tragedy occured. I will leave that to those a lot more qualified than myself. The one thing that I do know however, governments always tell us after the fact that they have the situation in hand. Try selling that idea to someone sitting out there in the freezing cold in a lifeboat in the wee hours of the morning.


P Patterson said...

I agree with you 100% Sir, use the ferries all the time. Important to us here.

P Patterson
Port Hardy

N Thomas said...

Thank God, No loss of life here. Agree with your comment

M Thomas

D Donaldsen said...

This sort of thing doesnt happen in canada does it? i mean it is not supposed to right?

darlene Donaldsen
Vernon, B.C.

Davis McLeod said...

should be keeping up to date on ferry construction, very vital

Davis McLeod
Calgary, Alberta

Jack D said...


More than one cargo compartments should be mandatory for safety reasons. Time to come out of the dark ages.

Just my thoughts here in Winnipeg

Jack D

Cathy C said...

Was terrible what they did with the coast guard. Those people are so vital to our coasts, and very brave men and women

Thank you for reminding the people about the coast guard lew, they should be proud of you.

Cathy Crandlemere
Victoria, B. C.

Anonymous said...

everyone should thank God for everyone being able to walk away from the ship sinking in British Columbia. i know i do.

Nanaimo bc

Mandy M said...

Oh I couldnt believe the news when I awoke this morning. I thought it cant be true, but it is true. Thank God no one lost theit life. Just imagine a week or so ago the kids were all out of school on Spring break, would have been lots of families on that ship then. Oh this is so unbelievable, and tragic.

Mandy MacPherson
Courtenay, B. C.

Brent McWilliams said...

Now we will start hearing all the normal BS from the government on how they have been studying the water traffic situation on the coast to avoid just that sort of thing. Ya ya sure they have.

Brent McWilliams
Prince Rupert, B. C.

Dan M said...

I have been on that same ferry dozens of times, we tend to take things for granted to easily. We should be more tuned in to what is really happening.

Lew I like and support your comments, although I am certain that certain levels of government might not include you on their Chriatmas card list. Ha ha

Dan McMullin
Comox, B. C.

Brendan D said...

Your last line in your editorial opinion is harsh, but it is true. Sounds and looks good on paper, but won't stand up to the real test.

Brendan D
West Vancouver, B. C.

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