A BC Ferries vessel travelling from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay discovered this unoccupied Zodiac Sunday night. The ferry circled the vessel for 10 minutes before standing down on the advice of the Canadian Coast Guard. (Submitted)

Ferry on route to Greater Victoria discovers unoccupied Zodiac on open ocean

BC Ferries says smaller boat likely a tender that broke away

The circumstances leading to an unoccupied Zodiac being spotted by a BC Ferries vessels will likely remain unknown.

Sub-Lieutenant Michael Dery, public affairs officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, said he hopes to receive more information about the incident as time progresses, but also downplayed expectations.

“We get a lot of these calls and we verify this kind of stuff,” he said. “So it’s not abnormal. We definitely want to make sure that there isn’t somebody who has fallen off board or anything like that. But it depends on location, time and other taskings. I don’t know if there is going to be any follow-up.”

He made that comment after the discovery of the Zodiac disrupted a BC Ferries sailing from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay Sunday.

“After departing Tsawwassen underway to Swartz Bay, the crew on the Spirit of Vancouver Island spotted an unattended vessel about one mile out of Active Pass just before 7 p.m.,” said Deborah Marshall, executive director, public affairs, marketing and customer experience, for BC Ferries.

RELATED: BC Ferries asks boaters to learn signals and be careful around ferries

The crew then contacted Canadian Coast Guard, circling the vessel twice to ensure nobody was on board or in the water, said Marshall. “Coast Guard stood them down. This event took about 10 minutes.”

Marshall said it is not clear to whom the Zodiac belongs. “We assume the vessel was a tender that somehow broke free from a larger vessel,” she said.

Dery confirmed that the Canadian Coast Guard looked into the matter. “However, on route, they got re-tasked to look into a boat taking on water. So they went to that tasking first and escorted the vessel back into Miner’s Bay. And then when they came back, they couldn’t find it.”


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