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BC Ferries, Good Samaritans Rescue 14 From Sinking Boat off Vancouver

rcm sar 27
Image courtesy RCM SAR 27

Published Aug 16, 2021 9:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Sunday, the Canadian Coast Guard and the B.C. Ferries car ferry Queen of Alberni helped save 14 people from a sinking vessel off Nanaimo, Vancouver Island. 

The Canadian Armed Forces' Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Victoria received a distress call from a vessel at a position off Gabriola Island at about 1345 hours. A small charter boat with 14 people on board had begun taking on water near Pilot Bay, and its passengers needed evacuation. 

Multiple vessels responded to the distress call, a spokesperson for the coordination center told the Vancouver Sun, including the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft Siyay; the Queen of Alberni; nearby commercial and private boats; and response boats from the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station in Nanaimo. The Alberni launched her fast rescue boat, but the survivors were already rescued by other responders by the time it arrived on scene. 

"We were asked to assist with a vessel in distress near Entrance Island yesterday afternoon,” BC Ferries spokesperson Astrid Chang told local media. "The Queen of Alberni was travelling from Duke Point to Tsawwassen at the time and we launched our rescue boat, but we didn’t take anyone on board as we were stood down."

The Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft took all of the rescuees on board and delivered them safely to Richmond, BC. Meanwhile, a small-craft tow operator managed to keep the sinking boat afloat with a salvage pump, then brought it safely back to a nearby marina for repairs, according to local media.