Nova Scotia

'Pretty discouraging': Looters ransack sailboat that ran aground off Lunenburg

Safety equipment, life raft, shackles, ropes, "anything of value" was stolen from the vessel Esprit de Corps IV after it ran aground on Cross Island early Wednesday morning.

'I think it's way more heartbreaking to see that kind of behaviour in these conditions than the accident'

The sailboat Esprit de Corps IV is shown stranded on Cross Island before thieves looted the vessel, with its boom secured. (Submitted by Maxime Grimard)

Crew from a sailboat that ran aground early Wednesday morning off Lunenburg got another blow when they returned to the site to clean up waste and collect any salvageable items on Friday.

Looters had ransacked the boat, stripping even ropes and shackles from the damaged vessel.

'I think it's way more heartbreaking to see that kind of behaviour in these conditions than the accident'," said Maxime Grimard, skipper of the Esprit de Corps IV.

"On top of that kind of trauma, you come back and your boat's been looted. So that's that's pretty discouraging."

The 19½-metre sailboat ran aground on Cross Island in high winds and rough water after a sail went overboard and was caught in the boat's propeller.

The boom of the Esprit de Corps IV is shown dangling after looters stripped the damaged sailboat of any valuable items including ropes and shackles. (Submitted by Maxime Grimard)

Thieves stole safety equipment, a life-raft, harnesses, shackles, ropes, "anything of value," as well as leaving the vessel's boom unsecured and flapping, he said.

"It's not just about getting valuables from a boat, it's also making it more complicated for us to co-ordinate the salvage of the boat," Grimard said.

"We wanted to bring more stability to the boat itself itself ... we were hoping to use some of the ropes that were onboard as well. So I mean it's not just about the valuables. It's really about making all this more complicated in this situation, which is already complicated."

While the vessel's insurer is sorting out losses, Grimard and others are keeping an eye on social media sites that deal with resale items, where the stolen gear might be advertised.

Crew members clean up waste from Esprit de Corps IV, stranded on Cross Island off Lunenburg Harbour. (Submitted by Maxime Grimard)

Grimard speculated that the person or persons involved would know coastline and have a "strong, powerful" boat as well as knowledge of what would be worth taking such as hardware like shackles and blocks.

"There's not really something we can do in terms of legal action. We can't really call the police for that kind of thing. We just have to be very careful about what do we see and we are actually hoping for solidarity from the people around the [Mahone] bay," he said.

"We're keeping our chin up. We have lots of support here from the locals from all backgrounds."

Most of the crew is from Quebec. They were sailing to Canada from Bermuda.  

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