Johnston Strait Chum Fishery Deployment – Oct 2020

The CLI deployed the Delta Lifeboat to support the chum salmon fishery in the Johnston Strait from 15 Oct 2020 – 21 Oct 2020. Crews trained near Port Neville to ensure all equipment was fully operational and to prepare for any calls for assistance.

On 17 Oct at 10:30, a call was monitored from Canadian Coastguard Radio referencing one canoe and two kayaks overdue in area Swanson Island. Advised JRCC lifeboat available at 5 min notice to search area if required. Training put on hold. At 12:44 Delta L/B was advised the overdue persons located. There being no further requirement,  the Delta L/B proceeded to conduct fire / salvage training at Robbers Nob in Port Neville.

On Sunday 18 Oct 2020 after plotting fishing boundaries all preparations were made to commence operations at 15:00. JRCC was fully informed. The Delta L/B proceeded on a patrol of the area between Port Neville and the Broken Islands where approximately 85 fishing vessels were observed.

At 1847 it was decided because of how the fleet was spread out, that the best plan of action would be to go to anchor off Port Neville and maintain radio night watch. The fleet was so informed as was JRCC. The lifeboat remained at 10 min notice and remain in a 2 watch system. There were no incidents overnight.

On Monday 19 Oct 2020 at 09:50, the anchor was weighed and Delta L/B patrolled the area between Port Neville and Robson Bight. Approximately 50 fishing vessels were observed plus about 10 packers.

The weather remained very changeable with wind NW 5 – 15 with a 1-foot chop. Rain showers and sunny periods.

The Delta L/B returned to Port Neville where a radio watch was maintained through the night. At 17:35 the fishing vessel ‘Lional L’ was observed in difficulty off the entrance to Port Neville while changing a net. The RHIB was sent away to provide assistance. It turned out the net had fouled the propeller. Assistance was provided by the RHIB’s crew and the fishing vessel was able to proceed under its own power.

On Tuesday 20 Oct it was decided that Delta L/B would return to Ladner at the gillnet closure. The anchor was raised at 08:00 for the transit to Gowlland Harbour for a night anchorage. En route, many seine boats were observed preparing for their opening. Secured to trees in various indentations gear was being readied for ‘beach seining’ where the outboard end of the net is secured to a tree. We were sorry to miss that action.

On Wednesday 21 Oct 2020 for the final leg back to the Fraser River, the ship was prepared for possible rough weather. The forecast was for winds NW 15 – 25. The anchor was weighed at 07:35.

Once clear of Discovery Passage, the following sea picked up and with seas running to 4 feet on the port quarter, the crew had to commence hand steering as the autopilot could not maintain course well enough, but good training for the hands.

In Sabine Channel, two tugs with barges were sighted opposing throwing spray as they sailed into a head sea.

The remaining of the transit was uneventful except for the following sea, Sandheads being reached at 18:00. Delta L/B secured at the Ladner Station at 19:25 for a total service of 161 hours, 51 hours were steamed for a distance of 408 nm.