WW1-era explosives to be removed from sunken vessel off Ucluelet
HMCS Theipval, a turn-of-the-century battle-class trawler, struck ground while patrolling the broken group of islands near Ucluelet and slipped beneath the waves 87 years ago. (Courtesy MARPAC)
From bullets to bombs, a historic cache of explosives will soon be plucked from the salty deep off Vancouver Island.
HMCS Theipval, a turn-of-the-century battle-class trawler, struck ground while patrolling the broken group of islands near Ucluelet and slipped beneath the waves 87 years ago.
In her decades below the surface Theipval not only became a popular scuba diving attraction, but also a protected national site. In the 1970s the shipwreck became part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and was shielded from demolition.
In early June, Navy divers are slated to remove everything from 12-pounder shells to rifle bullets from the waterlogged relic. Chief Petty Officer Alexander MacNeish said divers will explore the wreck in March. “The primary goal of this survey is to determine the integrity of the ship and amount and type of Unexploded Ordnance," he said.
HMCS Theipval was built in 1917 and served during the FIrst World War on Canada’s east coast before moving west to Vancouver Island, where she patrolled for submarines until her sinking in 1930.
Once explosives are removed the Navy will release the site to Parks Canada and dedicated scuba divers.