How did a barge loaded with containers end up in Coal Harbour?
Published Wednesday, December 26, 2018 4:50PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 26, 2018 7:17PM PST
Police are investigating after a barge loaded with shipping containers mysteriously came unmoored and drifted into Vancouver's Coal Harbour, causing property damage along the way.
According to the Port of Vancouver, two linked North Arm Transportation barges parked on the North Shore became adrift sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning and began crossing Vancouver Harbour towards the city.
"It took a couple of seconds to make sense of it," said Annelies Bertrand, who saw the rogue vessel. "I was biking around the corner—head down, pitch black—and I look up and it's a wall of containers where it doesn't belong. It threw me right off."
The barge was noticed in Coal Harbour at around 6:30 a.m. the next morning.
The port authority said tugboats were immediately deployed to remove the vessel, which had been completely cleared from the area by 8 a.m.
Images from the scene showed the vessel had struck two yachts, part of the Harbour Air terminal as well as the waterfront patio at Lift restaurant, causing relatively minor, but clearly visible damage to each.
"I got a phone call from the police at about 7 a.m. telling me the restaurant was secure and safe, but it had been hit by a double barge," said Lift manager Claire Clarke, adding that it was Harbour Air that first alerted authorities.
"With the wind and the velocity of the barge moving, there was nothing they could do to stop it."
But Clarke said what's more shocking is the number of obstacles the vessel managed to avoid in the busy harbour, including two lighthouses located in the middle of the waterway and a floating Chevron gas station.
"It could have been worse," she said. "It could have been a lot worse."
The coast guard told CTV News the barge left behind minimal pollution.
The Vancouver Police Department has since launched an investigation into how the barge came free in the first place.
North Arm also said it is looking into what happened, but as of Wednesday afternoon, the company had few answers.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Allison Hurst
A double barge broke free from the Navy Buoys over night, and drifted across the Burrard Inlet. It struck a Harbour Air dock, at least two yachts and a restaurant. Coast Guard: "Pollution is minimal". Witness: “I saw it before it hit the super yacht.” #Vancouver @CTVVancouver pic.twitter.com/IWA1APFv9X— Allison Hurst (@AllisonM_Hurst) December 27, 2018