The Red Zed 1 aroused a great deal of curiosity when it was stationed off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Red Zed 1 aroused a great deal of curiosity when it was stationed off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Islander charts the course of mysterious visitor Red Zed 1

Massive freighter anchored in Chemainus for weeks inspires observer’s investigative juices

The heavy lift vessel Red Zed 1 aroused a great deal of curiosity while anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus.

It was there for nearly a month and a half from early February until late March and Saltair resident Tom Hockin managed to track its movements after it left Chemainus.

A vessel like this one took away the fast ferries from B.C. after that failed project and Hockin thought the haul this time might be similar. Turns out he was right.

After its long stay in Chemainus that drew countless photographers to snap shots of it, the Red Zed 1 went to anchor off Victoria for one night and then to Vancouver Harbour and Seattle Harbour for one day each, all while running empty.

Webcams Hockin found showed the vessel bound for Ketchikan at the end of March. And, again, the vessel drew an abundance of curious onlookers.

A photo in the Ketchikan Daily News showed drivers using a pullout at Murphy’s Landing Seaplane Base to catch a glimpse and photograph it while anchored in Tongass Narrows.

And in a familiar twist to the former fast ferries in B.C. for the Alaska fast ferry system, the Red Zed 1 was there to take two 235-foot ships to Spain via the Panama Canal.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration announced the sale of Alaska’s two fast ferries to an international buyer for slightly more than $5 million.

The Transportation Department cited selling the ferries as a significant milestone in the long-term vision to reshape the Alaska marine highway system. Funds used for their storage were being redirected to operations and toward a goal of a more sustainable and affordable level of service for Alaskans.

Different country, same story as the long forgotten B.C. fast ferries situation.

The two Alaskan ships the Red Zed 1 was hauling away called the Fairweather and the Chenega had been tied up in Ketchikan since 2019 and 2015, respectively, despite being newer additions to the marine highway system.

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RELATED: Anchored freighter angst echoing along Vancouver Island coastline

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