Coast Guard says container ship debris cleanup wraps on Vancouver Island

Container debris cleared

Cleanup efforts have largely been completed on Vancouver Island beaches where massive amounts of debris from four broken shipping containers washed ashore after falling off a container ship late last month.

The Zim Kingston’s owner will check every few months on sites known to ­accumulate debris and will remove any that appear to be from the vessel, Michelle Imbeau, ­communications ­adviser for the Canadian Coast Guard, said Monday.

The coast guard will also be on the lookout for any debris when it’s flying over Vancouver Island, she said.

Beaches are considered clean at Guise Bay, Palmerston Beach, Raft Cove, Shuttleworth Beach, Sea Otter Cove, and the Grant Beach-Topknot area, Imbeau said, although Jurassic Point west of Tahsis still has to be cleared.

Additional debris reports are still coming in, but no large collections of debris — including refrigerators — have been reported since sightings in late October and this month.

Anyone who spots containers or debris that they believe to be from the ship is asked to call the coast guard at 1-800-889-8852. The coast guard will co-ordinate any follow-up with the vessel owner.

The Zim Kingston was off the west coast of the Island when it lost at least 109 containers in rough seas on Oct. 21. The Transportation Safety Board’s information page says the vessel “listed heavily while drifting in adverse weather conditions.”

Most of the containers that fell overboard have disappeared and are believed to have sunk. But four came ashore off northwest Vancouver Island, spilling their contents over remote beaches. Christmas decorations, yoga mats, board games, plastic toys, Styrofoam, backpacks and boots. were among the contents.

Contractors hired on behalf of the vessel operator, supported by First Nations members and B.C.-based environmental groups, went to the beaches to clean them up. Helicopters were used to remove debris.

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