Controversial vessel erupts in flames

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The live-aboard boat that has stirred controversy on Salt Spring ever since being towed to the Ganges Harbour beach last November was largely destroyed by a dramatic fire Wednesday night.

RCMP attending the scene and Salt Spring Fire Chief Arjuna George confirmed that no one was on board when the fire broke out on the Castle Finn at around 8:20 p.m. Security video footage from a business across the street caught the explosion that started the fire. The cause is under investigation, said George.

The boat’s owner Dolores Seagrave-Peel was fortunately not harmed as she was at home in Ganges during the evening. She said two men who were there to provide security and fix holes in the hull left the boat at around 7 p.m. 

Seagrave-Peel had not been able to acquire insurance for the Castle Finn and now is at a loss for how she can be compensated.

“I’ve invested over $20,000 into the boat,” she said.

The Castle Finn is a 90-ton ferro-cement hulled touring boat with a catamaran-type double-keel. The boat was moved from a mooring in Ganges Harbour last November after it hit some rocks and starting taking on water. The Dec. 20 windstorm pushed the boat further up the shore and potentially caused more damage. Seagrave-Peel said the Coast Guard who assisted the tow to the beach and removed the fuel in November gave her two months to make repairs, and then extended the deadline by another two months.

Efforts to tow the boat back out to water that started last Thursday were led by her son Jason Seagrave, who had been living on the boat, and nearby Beachside property owners Jason and Anna Watkin. Seagrave-Peel had revoked her permission for towing after new holes were discovered in the hull on Saturday.

(Video courtesy Ralph Blake.)

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