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Spudnik now headed to salvage yard

Rusted vessel broke free from moorings Wednesday morning
Submitted photo: On Wednesday, Nov. 12, The Spudnik broke free from its mooring and drifted down Howe Sound.

Squamish’s notoriously unpopular vessel, the Spudnik, is gone — maybe forever.

The rusted vessel broke from its mooring early Wednesday (Nov. 12) morning and drifted out of control until mid-morning.

Usually anchored out from Nexen Beach, the 59.7-metre long vessel was taken under control by Cutless, a Seaspan Tug, at 10 a.m. under order of the Canadian Coast Guard, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada spokesperson Dan Bate.

"Coast Guard took action to mitigate the risk," said Bate.

Bate said the Spudnik will be towed by the Cutless south toward Vancouver en route to Amix Salvage and Sales Ltd. in New Westminster.

The next step is to remove fuel and lubricating oil from the vessel, said Bate.

The Coast Guard will be assessing further steps in the coming days. Bate would not speculate on if or when the Spudnik would be scrapped.

 At 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning Joel Prevost, 24, who works at the log sort at Black Mount Logging on Howe Sound’s Watts Point, noticed that the ship was adrift just off the point.

“I just saw it spinning in circles and coming down the sound this morning, so I knew no one was towing it,” said Prevost.

Prevost said he and other workers tried to go out to stop the ship, but to no avail. 

“We tried to drag it somewhere, but it didn’t work so we just left it. It is floating out to the sound,” he said.

Prevost said his boss then called the Canadian Coast Guard.

Last May, the vessel also broke from its mooring.

Spudnik is a former U.S. Navy transport freighter that is owned by Squamish local Steen Larsen.

Since it arrived in the sound in March, there has been much concern and debate about the rusted ship being moored off Nexen Beach. 

Long time Squamish resident Tim Cyr has been vocal about wanting the vessel gone and followed its progress throughout Wednesday as it first drifted and then was secured by the Cutless.

"I followed it all the way down," he said.

"I am happy the thing is gone... the main thing that there was no disaster and no property damage and no one got hurt."

In September, an online campaign through social media led to an inspection of the ship by the Coast Guard. The inspection found some leaky paint cans stored on board, but because there was no immediate danger the Coast Guard couldn’t do anything about the vessel.

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