Storm sinks commercial dive boat in North Sydney

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A North Sydney-based commercial diving boat sank Monday morning after a pre-fall storm that brought heavy rain and strong winds to parts of the Maritimes.

Shortly after 8 a.m., the 14-metre Kenworth dipped to the starboard side before it was hit broadside with a massive wave, says the vessel’s owner, Ken Jardine.

An outdoor sport and research vessel, the Kenworth was docked at a seafood and fish processing plant on Queen Street in North Sydney when it quickly sank to the ocean floor about 15 minutes later.

“There was no big warning that it was going to be this kind of a weather phenomenon,” said Jardine, the owner and operator of Scuba Tech, which leases a space at Northsyde Processing Ltd.

“Nobody was hurt, that’s the main thing. Usually, I’m the guy that gets called to get your boat out when it sinks and in this case here, it’s the other way around.”

He said one of his employees was on the Kenworth about 15 minutes before it sank.

“There was no water when he went on the boat at 8 a.m., the boat was fine and she rolled to the side and (then) a wave hit it,” said Jardine.

“The wave didn’t just hit the boat, the wave literally went over top of the boat and right up on the dock. He was standing on the dock when it happened and he was up to his ankles in water.”

Jardine said he arranged to have a crane brought in to lift the Kenworth out of the water by Monday evening.

He said although it will need a lot of repairs, he expects the boat will one day float again.

“All the electronics will have to be replaced and there’s some fibreglass damage. The engine will need to be flushed out. But the engine was not running; we were able to shut it down before it sank. If a diesel engine is running and water gets in it, that’s a whole other thing.”

An inspector from Transport Canada told The Chronicle Herald he would be checking over the boat for any leaking pollution, such as diesel fuel.

Paul Dalziel, a manager at Northsyde Processing, said at one point winds were gusting at about 95 kilometres per hour.

“It was whitecap from the other side right across and close to high tide,” Dalziel said of the ocean conditions early Monday morning.

Also on Monday, the wild weather was blamed for knocking over a pleasure boat that was dry docked in North Sydney.

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