Kaisei sets sail for Steveston’s Ships to Shore festival
Updated: June 13, 2012 3:52 PM
A two-masted sailing ship that’s shed light on vast islands of ocean garbage is coming to Steveston for Ships to Shore.
The 46-metre (151-feet) Kaisei will be among a trio of classic tall ships sailing into Imperial Landing June 29 for the three-day festival.
“The Kaisei is the biggest of the ships that we’ll have in port for Ships to Shore this year. It is a beautiful tall ship itself, but what really makes it interesting is its primary role is environmental and scientific research,” said Ted Townsend, city spokesperson.
Kaisei, a Japanese name roughly interpreted as “Ocean Planet,” has served as the iconic vessel behind research expeditions of Project Kaisei, a group that formed in 2008 to stem the flow of plastic and marine debris into the Pacific Ocean.
Drawing attention to the volumes of plastic accumulating in the ocean over the past 50 years was the group’s initial focus, but Project Kaisei has since become an organization dedicated to finding solutions to how the world treats waste—much of which finds its way to sea.
“For too long we’ve been using our oceans as dumping grounds and we’re starting to see the consequences of that. The Kaisei is engaged in trying to find ways to mitigate and reverse the damage that’s been done to our oceans,” said Townsend.
Launched in 1990, the steel-hulled Kaisei is based in California and operated by Ocean Voyages Institute. It has frequently travelled to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a huge collection of marine litter in the North Pacific—to determine the feasibility of collection and recycling. The vessel has also been tracking tsunami debris floating across the Pacific from Japan.
Joining the Kaisei is another pair of tall ships, Hawaiian Chieftain and the Canadian Navy’s HMCS Oriole, both of which visited Steveston last year. Two schooners, Mallory Todd and Grail Dancer, will also be on display, along with the historic steam tug SS Master and Vancouver Island cutter Carlotta. Britannia Heritage Shipyard’s Silver Ann gillnetter will also join the festival, as will Juanita, a replica Spanish longboat, saluting one of the original European explorers of the B.C. coast.
The final day of the event coincides with the Steveston Salmon Festival on Canada Day, July 1.
“It’s going to be an exciting weekend in Steveston,” said Townsend, who noted Britannia Heritage Shipyard and Gulf of Georgia Cannery will also be open. “It’s going to be a great place to be.”
Garry Point Park hosted the first Ships to Shore event one year ago, drawing four tall ships—Hawaiian Chieftain, Lady Washington, Zodiac and Adventuress—and attracting an estimated 40,000 people over four days.
City council approved spending up to $150,000 to host this year’s festival.
I am not sure what the pro-rata ….or $/sq ft ….spent in Steveston is, but it must top the list of all areas of Richmond.
The Tall Ships festival are another example.
Last year, Council decide to build a permanent dock for a couple of million dollars for these ships at Garry Point. In doing so, it ruined a natural beach area in the construction of this dock that was previously open year round to the public.
As is Council’s modus operand, it continues to burn taxpayer money. Now that the dock is built, it sits most of the year empty. However, the city puts on a money losing festival once a year so that it isn’t embarrased with the original bad investment.
One white elephant lead to another…