An abandoned fishing vessel heading toward the western coast of Turtle Island has been spotted off Haia Gwaii's territorial islands, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Tsunami Ghost Ship Spotted off Haida Gwaii Territory


A fishing vessel swept out to sea off Japan in last year’s post-earthquake tsunami has been spotted about 150 nautical miles off of the islands making up Haida Gwaii territory in British Columbia.

This “ghost ship” heralds an earlier-than-anticipated arrival for the debris, which experts have been predicting to make landfall on our side of the Pacific in 2013 and ’14.

"The early indication is that things sitting higher up on the water could potentially move across the Pacific Ocean quicker than we had originally thought," Nancy Wallace, director of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, told Reuters. "Those higher-wind, quicker moving items may actually be onshore much sooner—pretty much now."

Robert Mills, Chief Council of the Skidegate Band of the Haida Nation, told Indian Country Today Media Network that members of the auxiliary coast guard, a mix of Haida and non-Haida people, had been planning to inspect the ship.

Ideally, he said, they would be able to tow it to shore if it is indeed headed straight for their lands, or in the best-case scenario, start it up and drive it in.

“But there’s always that possibility that it could be brought in by the currents, and then all it takes is the tide and the wind,” he said, to crash it against the rocks. This could release fuel, “something that we as Haidas don’t want but also something that Haida residents don’t want.”

Transport Canada spokeswoman Sau Sau Liu told The Province that the ship is being monitored by five agencies.

“The Department of National Defence confirms that close visual aerial inspection and hails to the ship indicate there is no one on board,” Liu told the newspaper. “The owner of the vessel has been contacted and made aware of its location.”

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Jean Robertson's picture
Jean Robertson
Submitted by Jean Robertson on
Monitoring is good but our government needs to be proactive to assure that this ship is not going to cause damage to the coastline. Is there a plan in place for the rest of the debris expected to arrive in the next year? Our navy could be put to good use here.