She was once known for giving her passengers quite a bouncy ride when the weather got rough, but MV Chilkat is now tied up and quiet at Deep Bay Harbour.
The Shipping News boat of the week, the 97-foot MV Chilkat was built in 1957 to replace MV Chilkoot, a flat-bottomed Second World War landing craft that was retrofitted to Alaskan ferry passengers beween Skagway, Haines and Juneau in the late 1940s.
Like MV Chilkoot, MV Chilkat features a bow ramp that allows loading and unloading to take place right from the beach.
The ferry, known by some as the Vomit Comet for its unsettling way of riding rough seas, was sold to private owners by the State of Alaska in 1988 and since then has hauled everything from fish to Christmas trees.
• When the base at 19 Wing Comox received a report of a sailor in distress on a freighter off the B.C. coast Monday, they scrambled to assist.
The sailor, on board a bulk log freighter, 370 kilometres south west of Sandspit, had suffered a severe leg injury and needed immediate help.
A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter and a CC-115 Buffalo fixed-wing aircraft were both called to respond. The Cormorant arrived at the ship at approximately 5:30 p.m. and the Flight Engineer and Search and Rescue Technicians began a hoist operation from the deck of the ship.
The rescue was no simple operation.
“The ship was moving up and down with the 7-8 metre sea swells and due to the logs on the main deck, we were only able to use the small area at the stern of the ship to lower our two SAR Techs aboard,” said Sergeant Carl Schouten, the Flight Engineer responsible for operating the hoist. “Because of the antennae mast and support cables, we had to lower them from 65 feet.”
As the SAR Techs were lowered onto the deck, the Buffalo circled above, dropping flares to aid in the operation.
“We arrived over the ship first and were able to tell the ship’s navigator how to prepare for the arrival of the helicopter in terms of positioning the ship and turning off the radar to minimize radio interference,” said Captain John Edwards, Aircraft Commander of the Buffalo.
Once the SAR Techs had stabilized the patient for transport, he was flown to Sandspit to the waiting Buffalo. From there, he was flown to Comox and transferred into the care of the B.C. Ambulance Service in stable condition.
• The Royal Canadian Navy could start the new year underwater — but nobody is complaining or scrambling for the lifeboats.
That’s because the lone working submarine in Canada’s Pacific fleet is slated to conduct underwater trials at the Nanoose Bay test range some time in January.
HMCS Victoria is currently touring the B.C. coast to test its equipment and train her crew. After she returns to Esquimalt at the end of this week, she will prepare for another round of testing, with dives in January and weapons testing at CFMETR in Nanoose Bay.
If all goes well, the submarine will then be declared fully operational after a seven-year overhaul.