The Venture H was badly submerged after hitting a rock just off Hotspring Island on Monday, June 11, but was later re-floated and towed out of Gwaii Haanas by the Coast Guard ship Tanu. After hitting rough water off Deadtree Point, the boat sank under tow with about 1,200 litres of diesel on board. (Gwaii Haanas/Submitted)

Fishing boat sinks off Deadtree Point

No injuries or pollution reported after damaged Venture H sinks while under tow to Queen Charlotte

A damaged fishing boat, the Venture H, sank off Deadtree Point last Tuesday while under tow to Queen Charlotte behind the Coast Guard ship Tanu.

No one was injured, but roughly 1,200 litres of diesel fuel were on board.

Coast Guard officials declined a request for an interview, but said in an emailed statement that overflights showed a thin diesel sheen from the sunken boat that stretched about a nautical mile offshore.

As of last Friday, no diesel had been found near the shoreline. Coast Guard workers were able to plug the boat’s diesel tank before it went down, though whether it remains closed will depend on sea conditions and how the boat is positioned on the seafloor.

“It’s crushing,” says Julian Rorick, who-owned the boat Venture H with his brother Raven.

“We took a lot of pride in our boat.”

Early on the morning of Monday, June 11, the Venture H struck a rock just off Hotspring Island / G̱andll K’in G̱waay.yaay when the Roricks and two fellow crew were heading out to go prawn fishing.

RELATED: Fishing boat runs aground in Gwaii Haanas

By midnight, with Gwaii Haanas staff and the Coast Guard on scene, Julian said they managed to re-float the 40-foot boat with three pumps and a generator.

Then they began a long, slow tow back to the Queen Charlotte dock behind the Tanu. Julian stayed on board to maintain the pumps, and Raven took over around 4 a.m.

Unfortunately, by the time they rounded the bar north of Sandspit, calm weather gave way to strong southeast winds.

“Coming around the bar there, we took some water over the side and it got into the hold,” Julian said. “It swamped all three pumps.”

“At that point there was no chance of saving her.”

Raven got off the Venture H and safely onto the Tanu, and then they cut the tow line. The boat only took three minutes to sink.

The Venture H was uninsured, said Julian, but the brothers still have the Quatsino Star, a 50-foot longliner.

Julian said the rock they hit off Hotspring was charted and they knew to avoid it. It was quite close to low tide when they set out Monday, and they misjudged the depth and the distance between the rock and a nearby reef.

At first, Julian said there wasn’t any hull damage — the rock only struck the keel. Built at the Union Boat Works in New Westminster in 1939, the Venture H was a wood-hulled boat, and had a heavy keel reinforced with ironwood.

“I think the damage occurred later in the afternoon, when the wind picked up a little bit and the boat was on its side,” Julian said.

After they got themselves safe ashore on Hotspring, the crew of the nearby Maple Leaf charter boat offered to try and tow the Venture H off the rock. But the tide had already dropped too far.

Julian said he was well impressed by the Gwaii Haanas and Coast Guard responders who arrived Monday. They ringed the boat with spill boom and did all they could to re-float and tow it before the bad weather they knew was coming.

Gwaii Haanas currently has seven staff trained in emergency spill response, and two with clean-up assessment training. All fuelling stations, the maintenance yard, and the vessels working in Gwaii Haanas are equipped with spill-response gear.

“They were there to help — gung-ho, ready to get the boat floating, and the Coast Guard were very professional,” Julian said.

“It was quite an experience dealing with these people. We felt very looked after.”



andrew.hudson@haidagwaiiobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Port Edward Harbour Authority monitoring sunken boat at Rushbrook floats

The Harbour Authority will lift the boat before destroying it

PRMSA wins association of the year honours

The Prince Rupert Minor Softball Association was honoured in Kamploops on Oct. 20

Web Poll: Are you pleased with the 2018 election results?

Prince Rupert elected two new councillors and four incumbents, and Port Edward has a new mayor

Incumbents and acclaimed mayors win elections all across B.C.’s north

Fraser Lake saw their first female mayor elected

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Delivering the paper as a family

The Northern View is looking for newspaper carriers in Prince Rupert, join our team today

New monitoring of vessel noise impact on endangered whales announced

Federal government to monitor underwater ship and mammal noise in B.C.’s Salish Sea

Used election signs could serve as emergency shelters, B.C. candidate says

Langley Township council hopeful wants to build one-person foul weather shelters for homeless

‘Violent’ Prince George man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

RCMP say the man has likely made his way to the Lower Mainland or another community

Liberals write off $6.3 billion in loans as part of money never to be collected

That includes student loans and a $2.6 billion write off that came through Export Development Canada

Trudeau, McKenna to announce compensation for federal carbon plan

Provinces that don’t have a carbon price of at least $20 per tonne of emissions will have Ottawa’s plan forced on them

UPDATE: American rapper killed in skydiving accident

Man, 34, dies in skydiving accident Saturday near Westwold, between Vernon and Kelowna

Man who died at BC Ferries terminal shot himself as police fired: watchdog

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

Most Read