The sailboat that ran aground on the shore near Argyle Road in Union Bay almost two weeks ago is still there.
The owner of the dead boat has yet to retrieve it from the water. But what if he doesn’t do it or is unable to do it?
There lies the question. Who becomes responsible for cleaning it up – the Comox Valley Regional District, the Comox Valley RCMP, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, or the Canadian Coast Guard?
It seems like nobody knows. RCMP spokesperson Cst. Nicole Hall said the beached sailboat that resulted in the death of a Courtenay woman was not insured. She pointed out that the responsibility lies solely with the owner.
“If he doesn’t move it, it may stay there for quite some time, unfortunately,” said Hall. “At this time the RCMP has no reason for seizing it as we simply had an assist file to the coroner and no authority to seize it at this time.”
The Comox Valley Regional District’s media person, Leigh Carter said it’s not their responsibility.
“The regional district have no jurisdiction for boats aground in the water,” said Carter.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard are also not claiming any jurisdiction.
“In the absence of pollution, the Canadian Coast Guard has no role in the administration or disposal of derelict vessels,” said Carrie Mishima, spokesperson for the FOC.
“Under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, Fisheries and Oceans Canada may only remove a vessel from the marine environment if the vessel is discharging, has discharged, or is likely to discharge a pollutant that the owner is unable or unwilling to address and only when the removal of the vessel is considered the best option.”
The owner was seen attempting to upright the boat during high tide on Wednesday morning. It was tied to a truck that tried to force it up but the rope snapped said a resident in the area.
“I’m looking at this stuff everyday and it just bothers me because of having seen the whole event and what it had cost,” said Elliotte Lewis, who reported the boat when it ran aground on the shore in front of his house last week. He also saw a body float away. “It’s kind of depressing when I see it because someone died, and for what? So it bothers me in that sense.”
Lewis also made the effort of finding if the boat will be taken off the beach. But he wasn’t able to find out who would do it.
“I called up the Coast Guard too and they said it’s up to the owner and that they can’t do anything,” said Lewis. “They gave me a number to call the environmental pollution people. I called them and I got no response.”
Lewis said it’s going to be difficult for the owner to retrieve the boat because it has a big hole on one side.
“I don’t know how he’s going to get it out,” said Lewis. “He probably will need a crane to lift it up from the ocean-side.”
The owner returned Wednesday afternoon to retrieve some of his belongings from the boat.
The name of the woman who died, is not being revealed as requested by the family. The identity of the boat owner is also unknown at this time.