Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sometimes we miss the boat, with a POST.....

UPDATE: October 16, 2015
We sort of lost track of a link to the 'boat being cut almost in half by the Russians / BC Pilot' but, since there has been a fair bit of traffic to this Post lately:

WayBackMachine  Sourced

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters
Video of Actual Collision

Screen Shots from Video

Video: other collisions of the BC Ferries fleet

....... but better late, than never.

It's a balancing act whereby the Vancouver Sun (PostMedia out of Toronto) permitted one of many attentive Readers to set the record straight when an earlier published Letter, written by a Northern Vancouver Island resident, just got it wrong.

The first Letter claimed that Active Pass has allowed the passage of Oil Tankers for the past 100 years. ........  Hmmmmm

It made us go WTF, but only because of our having spent 26 years working in various shipyards in Metro Vancouver, and knowing first hand the consequences of one foolhardy venture, in Active Pass even though there has been many.   The difference between the One and the Many, is in the first instance, there was the loss of Three Lives.

The original Letter to the Editor in the Saturday's Edition of the Vancouver Sun started out by heaping ridicule upon Southerners (Metro Vancouver) by letting us know that it's not only Kitimat's Enbridge (creating long term jobs and local wealth) but so too for KinderMorgan with it's proposal to doubling of it's pipelines to berths in Vancouver's Burrard Inlet.

....... Douglas Channel is at least four times as wide at it’s narrowest point as Active Pass near Victoria and Burrard Inlet in Vancouver where there is at least 100 times more marine traffic than in our northern waters.

Oil tankers have made their way safely through Active Pass        into Burrard Inlet for the past 100 years........
Here's a refresher Course, from an earlier Post, of the size of an Oil Tanker compared to a typical BC Ferry with the latter having permission to use Active Pass on it's run from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay and back again.
An Enbridge Oil tanker going through Active Pass?


If you missed it on Monday morning, there's a report in PostMedia's newspapers of  an upcoming trial dealing with the sinking of the Queen of the North, seven long years ago, with the loss of 2 lives, and the Vessel.

As to that earlier incident, 43 years ago in Active Pass where Oil Tankers have been supposedly using it for 100 years, the BC Ferry "Queen of Victoria" ended up colliding or visa versus, with a Russian Freighter in 1970.

Highlighted below is the route that large vessels take, have been taking, for a long time.   One other detail is to realize that in narrow channels like Active pass, it's far better to have Two Screws (propellers) operable independently if need be and a Bow Thruster.    Vessels, like the Russian freighter in 1970 was propelled by a Single Screw, Right hand twirling.  No Bow Thruster.  Maneuverability best done with the Assistance of a Retard Tug and that luxury only happens in the confines of a Harbour, like Vancouver's Burrard Inlet.

Large vessels were discouraged from using Active Pass as a short cut between Victoria and Vancouver's Burrard Inlet because the "savings" were mere minutes,  the risk just isn't worth it.

Active Pass is downright narrow, the hairpin turn at Helen Point leaves ships blind to oncoming vessels, Enterprise Reef forces vessels to stay clear and there was, in 1970, an extra measure of a deterrent ..... fishing boats, both private and commercial.   With Active Pass being the designated route for BC Ferries to/from Swarzt Bay, year round, there are typically three vessels transiting Active Pass in quick succession.   The Russian freighter's BC Pilot counted two, but he knew there was still one missing.......  Result:

The Russian freighter, Sergey Yesenin (344' long), collided Midships with the Queen of Victoria (426.4' long).

For armchair mariners, and lawyers, there is a comparison to be made here, not between which route is better, Douglas Channel with four times the width of the mouth of Burrard Inlet, but rather the consequences of what happened, happens after the accident.

Formal Investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision in Active Pass, B.C.
 on August 2, 1970
 "Queen of Victoria"  AND "Sergey Yesenin"
December  3, 1970 
Vancouver, BC.

Read the whole Report, and once done doing that, apply yourself to looking at the Queen of the North Trial with an open and clear mind, or for that matter, any Trial that is before the Courts.

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