Ex-Fleetwood trawler now a pollution risk

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A former Fleetwood trawler once rated as one of the port’s finest ships has now become a major environmental concern off western Canada – and labelled a ticking time bomb.

Once known as David Wilson and Admiral Hardy before that, the 108ft fishing vessel is currently named Viki Lyne 2, a name which is now synonymous with fears of large-scale pollution.

The rusting vessel is languishing in Ladysmith Harbour, on the east coast of Vancouver island.

Residents in Ladysmith are demanding the federal government to do more to clean up the derelict ship which could spill thousands of litres of oil and solvents into the harbour if it sinks. The trawler was simply abandoned off the privately-owned Dunsmuir Island some time before 2012, before it was towed into Ladysmith. The authorities are still trying to trace the current owners.

Following this situation with great interest is Fleetwood man Ron Cook, 86, of Etrick Avenue, who was chief engineer on the long voyage which first took the vessel out of Fleetwood and over to Canada back in 1977.

He said: “A friend of mine out in Canada sent me some information about the trawler, and I was amazed. I didn’t know she was will around.I remember the trip well. It was a five week trip across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific Ocean, and travelling up the west coast of the United States to her new owners in Vancouver.

“It a great shame that such a fine trawler has now ended her days like this.”

The vessel, built to the highest specifications in 1961, had been owned by the Fleetwood Hazel Fishing Company Ltd but the firm struggled to fund thousands of pounds of alterations needed as part of tough new legislation dealing with stability, and was sold.