Navy divers tireless effort



Four massive tires, standing as tall as a grown man, were hauled out of Kinsmen Beach Park in Chemainus last week by 11 Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) members.

It took two days to remove the 1,200-pound tires, an environmental hazard for the crab population; high winds and rainy weather added to the toil.

It was a joint effort between the navy divers, The Halalt First Nations’ Spill Response Team, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the municipality of North Cowichan.

In April, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ South Coast Area Resources Restoration Unit (DFO SCA-RRU) was contacted to address the environmental impact industrial garbage was having on marine creatures in the area. A decade ago, private barges from Chemainus Port were abandoned and sunk. The four industrial tires were used on the barges and were causing an entrapment hazard to the local crab population.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans reached out to Maritime Forces Pacific for their underwater expertise.

“For government organizations to come together to support local communities in a short time frame, in the middle of a pandemic, is incredible,” said Chrissy Czembor, Restoration Biologist, DFO SCA-RRU. “The amount of planning and coordination that went into this project is phenomenal.”

Divers carefully executed the salvage operation, working around the ferry and tide schedules. With only an approximate location given of the tires’ whereabouts, they had do a greater sweep of the area to find them. Two-person dive teams working from two dive boats rotated every 24-minutes until all four were found 20 metres below the surface.

The tires were raised by lift bags and pulled towards shore via the RHIB. On the shore, a truck waited to pull them out. Before hauling them away, Czembor inspected them to ensure no marine creatures were lingering within.

“The fact that today we were able to help a local community and see firsthand the support and excitement from community members, the local First Nations community, and the municipality itself was very heartwarming,” says Lieutenant (Navy) Mike Allport, FDU(P) diver.


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  1. Excellent job show what can happen when every one works together!!

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