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Calamitous MV Zim Kingston cleared to unload fire-damaged containers in Nanaimo

Ship lost 109 containers overboard and caught fire earlier this fall off Victoria
The container ship MV Zim Kingston is being escorted from its anchorage off Victoria to Duke Point in Nanaimo. (Transport Canada photo)

The ship that lost more than 100 containers overboard and burned for days in the waters off Victoria following a storm in October is coming to Nanaimo.

The Canadian Coast Guard confirmed Friday, Dec. 3, that the MV Zim Kingston ship has been cleared to move to Duke Point.

“MV Zim Kingston has satisfied all Transport Canada safety-related conditions and is now underway to Nanaimo, B.C. We thank all parties involved for working together to ensure the safety of the vessel, crew and environment,” Transport Canada said in a statement posted on social media shortly before 9 a.m.

The Canadian Coast Guard’s incident command post said in an operational update Dec. 3 that the Port of Nanaimo will oversee off-loading and disposal of damaged containers from the ship.

Ian Marr, Nanaimo Port Authority president and CEO, said this week that the ship’s managers were making arrangements to bring the ship to DP World’s facilities at Duke Point.

“They’re definitely working to do that … from what I know about it, the vessel’s secured and everything’s OK to be transited,” Marr said. “Then it’s just a case of offloading it onto a facility and being able to then work with the stuff that has been damaged and get rid of it and clean all that side up and allow the ship to be productive again.”

The Duke Point facility was chosen because taking off the damaged containers and cargo will be a slow process. Vancouver’s port facilities are backlogged with ships waiting to load and unload. There is also a shortage of trucking to move cargo to and from docks there and major land routes have been closed because of recent flooding and avalanches. Duke Point has less shipping traffic but has deep enough water to accommodate ships of the Zim Kingston’s size and draft.

“We have the facility out there. We have a couple cranes out there that can load [cargo] back onto the land and have that accomplished and then they can take their stuff away and get it dealt with through the other organizations that are involved, which there are many, and get that completed,” Marr said.

He said there are about 60 containers on the ship that need to be dealt with at Duke Point before it can transfer to container dock facilities in Delta to unload its remaining cargo. Marr said he was not aware of any dangerous cargo remaining on the ship.

The MV Zim Kingston will likely be anchored within Port of Nanaimo jurisdiction waters until a berth at Duke Point is readied for the operation.

READ ALSO: Zim Kingston container spill clean-up continues as coastal concerns question response

A statement from the Canadian Coast Guard noted the ship left its anchorage at Constance Bank south of Victoria early Friday and will follow shipping lane transit routes through Haro Strait to Boundary Pass in U.S. waters before it returns to Salish Sea shipping lanes and continue in the Strait of Georgia to its anchorage in Port of Nanaimo waters.

The distance travelled will be about 159 kilometres and take about 11 hours and the ship will be escorted by two tugboats, a Canadian Coast Guard motor lifeboat, a U.S. Coast Guard vessel in U.S. waters, a marine mammal watch vessel and an environment monitoring vessel.

The Zim Kingston is a 40,030-tonne container ship built in South Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries in 2008. The ship is just over 260 metres in length and has a beam of 32.25 metres.

RELATED: Ship that lost 109 containers near Victoria is now stable: operator

RELATED: Victoria publisher had thousands of children’s books on board MV Zim Kingston

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Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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