Crews remove water and fuel from the sunken Trailer Princess
Photo Credit: Canadian Coast Guard

Photo Credit: Canadian Coast Guard

78-Year-Old Trailer Princess Has Served Her Last Commission

A full cleanup is now underway

The sunken barge is full of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel

She started off as a US Navy repair ship in 1944. She spent decades shuttling rail cars and supporting logging on VanIsle. But the Trailer Princess will end her days of service in Duncan Bay in 2022.

You might remember the huge barge that sank just north of Campbell River in February? It turns out it’s hazardous. Now, the Canadian Coast Guard is preparing to clean it up.

According to Nauticapedia.ca, the vessel is owned by Middle Bay Properties Inc. in Campbell River. The Coast Guard says it’s full of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. That’s pretty much the worst kind of ship to sink in our coastal waters.

After 8 months, Coast Guard crews are finally going to attempt to refloat and deconstruct the barge to clear it away for good.

To date, a total of 89,000 L of hydrocarbons and oily water has been removed.

It will still be a risky job. The toxic environment below deck has meant crews haven’t been unable to safely get to all areas of the barge.

They’ve been working with Wei Wai Kum First Nation to keep two layers of boom and absorbent material around the barge. That helps to keep the fuels from spreading.

And if those fuels start coming out of the barge during the salvage operation? The Coast Guard will be on deck to respond immediately.

The Canadian Coast Guard has hired AMIX/Marine Recycling Corporation (MRC) to drain the last of the fuel. Full removal and deconstruction of the barge will begin this week.

It won’t be a cheap process. The cost of cleanup is expected to be about $4.7 million.

Luckily, we won’t be footing the bill. Canada follows the “polluter pays” principle. This means the company who was running the barge will have to pay for the damage caused by their pollution.

Minister of Fisheries Joyce Murray thanked the Coast Guard and AMIX/MRC for their work to get the vessel back on land.

“The Canadian Coast Guard works around the clock to protect coastal communities and responds immediately to protect marine ecosystems from problem vessels like the Trailer Princess,” she said.

It may have taken a bit longer than “immediately” to fully clear the damage. But we’ll still be happy to see it gone.

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