Friday, September 22, 2006

What do you do with some drunken sailors?

In the recent case of a vessel run aground, you call in the Navy.

The Coast Guard dispatched HMCS Vancouver to the waters off of Green Island when reports of ten Albertans out for on a fishing carter vessel, planning to party on the seas ran aground and began taking on water was called in. The Vancouver on a regular patrol of the area was the closest ship available and took the call.

When the Navy arrived it must have seemed like an exercise more akin to combat duty than rescue work, as the sailors had to intervene among the 10 Albertans apparently duking it out above and below the decks that were taking on water. Even as the sailors were preparing to board the vessel to investigate the trouble, the passengers continued to battle it out, resulting in a number of injuries to the combatants.

As could be imagined alcohol was involved and the incident is still under investigation by the Prince Rupert RCMP.

The Daily News had a full report on the story in its Thursday edition.

By Patrick Witiwicki
The Daily News
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Page One

One of the world’s leading navy frigates was called in to break up a party in the waters of Hecate Strait.

An apparent celebration out on the waters west of Prince Rupert turned into a mayday call this weekend after a fishing charter vessel ran aground on Green Island, just west of Dundas Island in Hecate Strait. Allegedly, 10 passengers from Alberta were aboard the vessel when it ran into some trouble, and began taking on water.

But trouble on-deck was already well underway, as several of the passengers after apparently consuming alcohol, were involved in an altercation prior to the vessel running aground.

“They ran aground and started taking on water at Green Island in heavy weather,” said Andy Howell, the Coast Guard officer who handled the call. “There was a warship in the area, and they responded to the call.”

The Canadian naval ship HMCS Vancouver – which in recent years has been used to maintain peace in the Middle East – came across a far-from peaceful scene where the ship had run aground.

“When the HMCS Vancouver arrived, people were reported still fighting,” said Howell. Slight injuries incurred to some of the passengers.
”But everyone was safe … Alcohol was involved.”

Everyone was rescued, as the HMCS Vancouver shuttled seven of the passengers to safety in Prince Rupert, while three others were taken to safety on Dundas Island by Point Henry Fairview.

Upon their return to Prince Rupert, local RCMP members attended, because of the suspicion that alcohol may have been involved. The matter is still under investigation.

“No charges have been laid,” said Const. Steve Richards, RCMP media relations liaison. “Because (we) weren’t the first on the scene, we took statements from members on the HMCS Vancouver.

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