The Bella Coola RCMP is seeking public information into the sinking of a large vessel while it was moored in the Bella Coola Harbour in the summer of 2015.
The Pacific Grizzly, as she was known, sunk in the harbour August 4.
Read More: Pacific Grizzly sinks in Bella Coola Harbour
Estimates at the time suggested as much as 1,000 liters of diesel fuel had been spilled, though the concentrated efforts of local volunteers, fishermen, and the Nuxalk Coastal Guardian Watchmen helped to contain the spill in the harbour.
With her enormous stature and distinctive name, the Pacific Grizzly was well-known in the area. The vessel belonged to Leonard Ellis, the owner of Bella Coola Grizzly Tours and it sustained extensive damages when it sank.
Ellis stated in an email that “physical evidence viewed by witnesses upon salvage proves beyond any doubt the vessel watertight components were indeed compromised and physically sabotaged.”
“Over $50,000 was spent on Pacific Grizzly at shipyard in 2010 to ensure all caulking was in good shape below waterline. Vessel did not leak at all below waterline. Superficial paint on top decks suffered cosmetically from freezing winters but all machinery, bilge pumps, batteries and high water alarms were certainly in good working order,” said Ellis. “The hull structure with regard to floating capabilities was sound and copper paint and zincs were in very good condition. The vessel had to be torn apart by an excavator onsite in the harbour, loaded on a barge and hauled to the landfill.”
Ellis said he had invested over $150,000 into the boat for upgrades and maintenance and it cost him over $50,000 for cleanup in the harbour. He also lost the August, September prime guiding season 2015.
The vessel was not insured. A reward of $25,000 is being offered by Eliis for information provided to RCMP leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect/suspects responsible for the sabotage of the MV Pacific Grizzly in Bella Coola harbour.
If anyone has information regarding the loss, they are encouraged to contact the Bella Coola RCMP at (250) 799-5363 or anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
— with files from Coast Mountain News.