British Columbia

Transport Canada investigating hatch explosion aboard cargo ship in Vancouver harbour

Transport Canada is investigating an explosion aboard a cargo ship in the Vancouver harbour Tuesday afternoon which blew open a hatch and released a large white plume of smoke near the Lions Gate Bridge.

Vessel can't depart until it is deemed seaworthy

Plumes of smoke pour off the ship in Vancouver's harbour. (Alison Smith/Twitter)

Transport Canada is investigating an explosion aboard a cargo ship in Vancouver's harbour Tuesday afternoon which blew open a hatch and released a large white plume of smoke near the Lions Gate Bridge.

The Canadian Coast Guard responded to the incident Tuesday and said following the explosion the hold's contents vented in a process called fumigation.

There was no fire, nor were there any injuries.

Transport Canada said in a statement to CBC News that the vessel won't be allowed to depart until the federal agency has reviewed its seaworthiness and structural integrity.

"Incidents like these are extremely rare, but the vessel's captain and crew are qualified and trained to handle emergencies and must regularly practice emergency exercises," reads the statement.

The agency has dispatched a marine safety inspector to assess whether the ship is complying with cargo fumigation and tackle regulations. A qualified marine surveyor will also inspect the extent of the damage and what repairs are needed.

The Transportation Safety Board said 22 crew members and a pilot were on board at the time. The RCMP and the Vancouver Port Authority are also investigating the incident.

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