Nanaimo Port Authority patrol boat NPA Osprey, with Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters, went to the scene of a boat fire south of Nanaimo on Friday. (News Bulletin file photo)

Boat catches fire near Nanaimo’s Duke Point, two people rescued

Nanaimo Port Authority, C-Tow, Nanaimo Fire Rescue respond to boat fire

The long weekend is off to a rough start for the owner of a 13-metre fishing vessel that caught fire south of Nanaimo today.

The craft was in Northumberland Channel near Duke Point when it reported the fire shortly before 4 p.m. Friday.

Navy Lt. Melissa Kia, spokeswoman for the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria, said the Canadian Coast Guard sent out a fast-response craft from Salt Spring Island as well as the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Maiden.

“We also issued a marine broadcast over marine broadband to mariners in the area,” Kia said. “One vessel of opportunity, the R. Haven, responded to the marine broadcast and was the first on the scene because they were the closest to it. They managed to rescue one person on board. The second person on board managed to abandon onto the ship’s dinghy.”

Nanaimo Port Authority also responded with Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters.

Rodney Grounds, Nanaimo harbour master, said the vessel was southbound toward Dodd Narrows when the fire broke out.

“It happened just right across from Duke Point up against the bluffs of Gabriola,” Grounds said. “It’s the start of the long weekend so there was lots of resources out there … I think the owner stayed on board to do what he could to try to save his vessel.”

Grounds said there was also a pet that was taken off the craft. There were no reported injuries and the fire was reportedly out when firefighters and Nanaimo Port Authority arrived on scene.

Kia said the vessel was taken under tow by a vessel by C-Tow Marine Assistance Ltd. and towed the craft, which has not been identified, to Stones Marina in Nanaimo for repairs.

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