Harbour Air staff arrived at work to find a vacant spot next to the dock where one of the company’s safety boats should have been.
John Winter, Nanaimo Harbour Air base manager, said the missing craft is one of the aerodrome’s safety boats it maintains at the site to help assist aircraft, passengers and aircrew should an accident occur or if an aircraft needs assistance.
“We closed up shop last night around 6:30, 6:45 p.m., and obviously the boat was there, and then this morning when my crew came in, just after 6 a.m., to get the aircraft ready for departures this morning, then we noticed that the boat had gone,” Winter said.
He said he is scanning security video footage to see if the theft was captured on camera.
The stolen craft is a 19-foot-long Typhoon-brand rigid hull inflatable, with a 90-horsepower Yamaha outboard motor. The craft is dark blue with a white cockpit and seating and has the number ‘580’ in dark blue on a white background on the sides of the craft. Winter estimated the boat and motor are worth about $30,000.
He’s hoping the craft will be found quickly and the theft has been reported to Nanaimo RCMP.
Winter said Transport Canada does not require Harbour Air to maintain a safety boat, but the company keeps the boat on site as an additional layer of safety. Harbour Air staff are trained in the use of the boat and do practice safety drills with it, including a recent scenario in which they had to tow a ‘disabled’ aircraft in from the harbour.
“Our biggest concern, obviously, is it is used for safety and it’s one of those things that sits here and we never really hope to use it … We do have, obviously, support from the port authority and their vessels, but we like to have this on top of everything else, so that if we do have any issues we do have that available as an option,” he said. “It’s taken the safety expectations and adding to those, so it’s not going to affect our daily operations, but it does mean we do have to replace it in order for us to feel secure in our own operations.”
Nanaimo RCMP arrested two men in August suspected of committing a series of boat thefts on the city’s waterfront.
Police hope the public can help track down the vessel.
“We’re very concerned. This vessel serves a unique purpose and we’re hoping the public will assist us in finding, sooner than later, where the boat is,” O’Brien said.
Anyone with information about this theft is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.