Retired ferry towed to Mexico

John Gleeson/Staff Writer / Staff writer
September 29, 2012 01:00 AM

After spending months tied up in Howe Sound, the decommissioned Queen of Saanich was towed to Mexico on Sept. 8 for ship-breaking, Future of Howe Sound Society spokesman Jeff Gau told Coast Reporter.

The vessel will be "completely scrapped" at a specialized dock facility in that country, he said.

Since at least May the retired ferry, rechristened the Owen Bell, "was tethered with inappropriate ropes on the west side of Anvil Island," Gau said.

"It's not clear what was going on exactly. It appeared they were extracting the copper wire as fast as they could and they had a backhoe on the deck, pulling things apart."

The ferry has changed owners twice since B.C. Ferries sold it "as a going concern" in 2009, said Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries' executive director of public affairs.

"We sold it to someone who said they would continue to operate it in a marine environment," Marshall said, adding that the vessel "did meet all of Transport Canada's regulations for carrying vehicles and passengers."

The Queen of Saanich was one of five modified V-class ferries to be retired and sold off between 2008 and 2010. Some of the vessels were sold to logging companies, Marshall said.

Meanwhile, the former Queen of Vancouver has been moored at Woodfibre to await eventual disposal, the Future of Howe Sound Society reported on its website

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