Port of Nanaimo patrol vessel NPA Osprey was busy keeping boats, ships and log booms safe during Saturday’s blustery weather that saw sustained winds at 33 knots and gusting to 40 knots within Nanaimo harbour.
Winds hit between 35-47 knots in the Georgia Strait and knocked out power to 2,200 Nanaimo homes, and the NPA Patrol Division was patrolling local waters ensuring boats and passengers remained safe.
Harbour Master Rodney Grounds was at the Operations Centre monitoring the harbour with the Port’s Marine Domain Awareness (MDA) system that records events and provides historical data to ensure accuracy and context to events in and around the harbour.
The MDA system not only provides real time video of all activity on the water, it enables the Port to identify issues as they occur and respond in a timely manner. St. John Port Authority New Brunswick is currently utilizing the MDA system.
CEO Ian Marr is pleased with the actions and responses of the Port crew. “Our team is highly trained to maintain safety in our harbour, so calamities on days like Saturday with extremely high winds that create dangerous conditions are avoided,” he says. “It is comforting to know that our crew is trained properly and consistently, to keep vessels and individuals safe in all types of weather.”
On Saturday, NPA patrol vessel monitored a 35’ powerboat that was drifting near the Dinghy Dock Pub on Protection Island and being helped by two individuals in a 16-foot aluminum vessel.
The NPA Osprey assisted, along with the Protection Island Ferry, to rescue a person who fell into the water from an overturned kayak, getting them safely to shore.
Later, the 35’ power vessel was in difficulty again, drifting with the “No Anchoring Buoy” wrapped around its anchor, and the vessel was freed from the buoy.
The patrol boat also helped anchor larger vessels and inspected log booms, avoiding any potential problems within the harbour. Additionally, the patrol division provides transportation support for ambulance services to Gabriola Island after BC Ferries non-operation hours and direct to other regional Gulf Islands.
The NPA Eagle and the NPA Osprey regularly attend to in-bound and out-bound Deep Sea vessels that utilize the Port’s anchorages. Last fall the Port of Nanaimo received a letter of commendation from the British Columbia Coast Pilots Ltd. (BCCPL) for their work on the NPA Osprey.
Grounds notes that the Port is running its Annual Table Top exercise this week, which simulates a 1,000 tonne oil spill in the harbour. “This is a follow-up to the Spill Exercise conducted by Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) on April 9,” he notes.
“Other past exercises include a simulated earthquake and an overturned propane tanker truck affecting the harbour. This is part of the readiness program provided by the Port of Nanaimo to ensure a safe and secure harbour on a 24/7 basis,” he adds.