Victoria publisher may have lost thousands of kids' books amid MV Zim Kingston fire
A Victoria publishing company has learned thousands of its children’s books due for delivery were aboard an embattled ship and now may be lost.
The MV Zim Kingston has been anchored off Clover Point since late October following two major hiccups at sea. A number of shipping containers caught fire onboard the vessel and before that, 109 containers were tossed into the ocean during a storm.
Orca Book Publishers says 15,000 of its Footprint series books were onboard the vessel.
The publisher doesn’t know if its reprint copies of five titles were destroyed in the fire, lost in the water or are still on-board the boat. A spokesperson for the Canadian Coast Guard, which is overseeing the unified command of the MV Zim Kingston says, based on the ship’s manifest it doesn’t appear the books were in the containers that went over the side of the ship.
"What is concerning to us is the lost sales and the opportunity of having those books in stock," said publisher Andrew Wooldridge.
Wooldridge says the books were mostly destined for libraries and schools – and are most valuable for sale as part of a complete collection, which has 25 titles in the series.
The independent business won’t learn about the status of the books for six weeks or until the container ship docks in Vancouver – so it’s asked the Hong Kong-based printer responsible for the order to print more.
They should arrive in the next year.
"You sort of throw your hands up a bit," he said. "Because right now we’re seeing with the supply chain how difficult it is, not just for printing and publishing but for every industry. There are huge bottlenecks, this is just another issue at the moment.”
Five authors are affected by the delay. Kari Jones says she was shocked to learn the news, especially after having gone to see the container ship off the coast.
"I thought of it as something that was separate from me," the writer said. "And now having one of my books on there makes it part of my life in a way I didn’t expect."
Orca says it’s moving more of its printing back to Canada as opposed to working with printers overseas, but that it’s difficult because Canada doesn’t have enough capacity to take on all the business.