Shipwrecks, Coal, and the Salish Sea

Sightline Daily, February 12, 2013
By Eric de Place

This post is part of the research project: Northwest Coal Exports

It was dark but it wasn’t stormy when the Salish Sea saw its first recorded sinking of a coal vessel. At 6:45 a.m. on November 21, 1886 the Barnard Castle, a freighter laden with 2,300 tons of Vancouver Island coal bound for San Francisco, struck the Race Rocks about 10 miles southwest of Victoria. The captain managed to beach the foundering ship in a shallow bay at nearby Bentinck Island. Workers were later able to remove much of the coal before abandoning the ship where it had lodged in the mud. It was eventually destroyed by storms.

The region’s second recorded sinking happened just five years later, on November 28, 1891 when the iron steamship San Pedro came to grief while carrying coal 4,000 tons of coal from Vancouver Island to San Francisco. In dead calm waters at about 8:30 p.m. the ship struck a submerged ledge near Trial Island just off Victoria. Rescue tugs arrived a few hours later and removed some of the coal before the vessel sank suddenly into shallow water. Much of the rest of the coal was later salvaged.

Read more…

About coalfreegorge

Coal is rearing its head again the Columbia Gorge. The new threat comes in the form of proposals to export coal from Wyoming to coal-fired power plants in China. The coal would be transported via uncovered rail cars through the Columbia Gorge. Many Columbia Gorge Communities in Oregon and Washington support a coal-free world, beginning at home, in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, recognizing the importance of people determining what materials are allowable for transport through their communities and watersheds. This blog exists to communicate and advocate for the public interest in issues pertaining to coal transport in the Columbia River Gorge, providing an online outlet for honest discussion and information. To inform and unite local citizens about the damaging effects of coal transport through our communities. To endorse positive and considerate dialogue with the aim of mutual understanding among diverse parties. CLEAN AIR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES NO COAL EXPORTS STOP COAL IN ITS TRACKS
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