Blue (nee Yuang Yue 603)
Location: North of Port Alberni, in the Alberni Channel at China Creek
Type: Boat, wreck dive.
GPS: Unavailable at this time.
History: This 128 ft. (39 m.) steel trawler turned Chinese migrant ship was scuttled by the Alberni Reef Society in China Creek on June 10, 2001. This vessel along with the Black Dragon were part of the group of ships that illegally dropped Chinese migrants in the Queen Charlotte Islands.
The following information was taken from a brochure issued by the Alberni Reef Society in early 2002
In the summer of 1999, the Canadian coast guard stopped four vessels that had entered Canadian waters. Aboard these vessels, they discovered approximately 600 illegal immigrants being smuggled into Canada.
Each of these people paid approximately $30,000 for the promise of amnesty and a better life. Many did not have the entire amount; they were told that they would get good jobs in New York and would be able to pay off these debts. They did not realize that “good jobs” were actually work in prostitution and gangs, and that the journey across the waters would be so arduous.
About the Boats
#1 - The “Blue” boat carried 123 people
- Took 39 days to cross the ocean.
- Arrived July 20th at Gold River.
- Length 128’ Width 22’ - Sunk in China Creek
#2 - The “Rusty” boat carried 130 people.
- Arrived at Winter Bay.
- Length 120’ Width 23.6’ - Sunk in China Creek
#3 - The freighter carried 200 people.
- Length 210’ Width 30’ - Unknown location
#4 - The Black Dragon (Korean freezer ship) carried 147 people.
- Arrived in the Queen Charlottes.
- Length 128’ Width 30’ - Sunk off of Victoria
About the Journey
- “Snakeheads”, people who traffic in the illegal smuggling of refugees, are responsible for these actions: to date, the Snakeheads and crew have not been charged under the Immigration Act because of lack of evidence.
- The people kept in the holds of the vessels were never allowed on the deck.
- Small holes were made to pass down rice and vegetables, often smelling of gasoline.
- Pots, used for toilets, were dropped down into the holds, and were not cleaned regularly.
- The smell of body odor, gasoline, feces and rotting vegetables filled the small hold where people where held.
- The Federal Government spent over $100,000 cleaning the four vessels. They removed about 50 tons of garbage and steam cleaned the interior for biological contaminates. More than 30 million has been spent on these vessels.
- Fuzhou Committee of Policy and Law announced that it was cracking down on alien smuggling, and has begun imposing “The heaviest punishment allowable by applicable law on illegal migrants.”
Alberni Reef Society
The Alberni Reef Society has purchased all four vessels from the government; this is a public awareness project, designed to illustrate how the migrants were treated during their voyage. To date, the society has spent approximately $150,000 to clean the four ships of hydrocarbons (such as fuels, lubricating oils, grime, soot, loose wood and glass), so that they can be sunk. This act will ensure that the boats will never again be used for human smuggling, and will help to create and expand reefs in several areas. The “Blue” and “Rusty” boats were sunk off China Creek on June 10th, 2001. There has been no date scheduled to sink the remaining boats, targeted for Canoe and Weld Islands. These new reefs will help the local ecosystem and create diver-friendly areas for eco-tourism. This is an expensive project; with the help of community volunteers, donations, and many long hours by the Alberni Reef Society, they will accomplish their goal.
Above Water: No information at this time.
Underwater: Blue rests on a sloping sand and gravel bottom. After sinking, it ploughed down the sloping sea bottom and came to rest in over 300 ft. (90 m.) of water.
Hazards: Depth, visability, overhead enviroment
Information on the Black Dragon: http://8arm.com/black_dragon