Vandalism of Coast Guard vessel ‘upsetting’ and personal to family of Cpl. Mark McLaren
The stepmother of a fallen Canadian soldier says she’s taking personally the weekend vandalism of a Canadian Coast Guard vessel that was named after her stepson.
“It was so upsetting to see that,” said Jo-Anne McLaren, stepmother to Cpl. Mark McLaren, who found out about the vandalism of the vessel through an article on Facebook.
“It’s almost like something has happened to Mark all over again.”
The CCGS Corporal McLaren was discovered partially submerged at Sambro Head on Saturday morning after being cut from its cradle at the Canadian Maritime Engineering shipyard in Sambro Head, N.S.
The mid-shore patrol vessel was at the shipyard for scheduled maintenance.
WATCH: Salvage team moving cautiously on recovery of sabotaged coast guard ship.
The CCGS Corporal McLaren is one of nine Hero-class vessels, named for decorated soldiers, veterans, police officers, Department of Fisheries employees and Canadian Coast Guard officers.
McLaren from Peterborough, Ont., along with Pte. Demetrios Diplaros and Warrant Officer Robert Wilson were killed on Dec. 5, 2008, when their armoured vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device in Kandahar province Afghanistan.
During the ambush, McLaren crawled through enemy fire to help his team’s injured interpreter.
He was awarded the Medal of Military Valour for his actions.
“This vessel to me is Mark. Mark has the military medal of valour and he’s had his name put on that vessel and I’ve only ever seen the vessel racing through the water or taxiing out,” said McLaren.
“To have this happen has really torn my heart.”
The vessel remains partially submerged on Monday with 2,600 litres of diesel fuel in its tanks and 400 litres of hydraulic fluid on board.
Keith Laidlaw, the deputy superintendent for environmental response at the Canadian Coast Guard, said there is a “slight sheen” on the harbour water but there isn’t enough material to prompt a cleanup effort.
He said a boom has been put in place around the vessel at Sambro Head, a coastal community 30 kilometres south of Halifax that is home to fishing vessels and a fish processing plant.
Laidlaw, who is the incident commander for the coast guard at the scene, said the plan to raise the CCGS Corporal McLaren is being created, but the salvage company and marine architects are proceeding with care and that the process could take several days.
He said the salvage divers were checking the condition of the vessel and the salvage team is making calculations and doing modelling on how the hull will react as the water is pumped out.
The vessel was discovered on its side in the water Saturday morning, after being released from its secured cradle and sliding down a slip at the shipyard.
Halifax Regional Police said the slip had been damaged, and a shipyard employee reported that a cable on the ship’s cradle and an additional safety cable had been cut clean through.
McLaren says she hopes that the vessel will be back up and running soon.
“I want to see the vessel out on the seas again. I want them to give me a picture of the [CCGS Corporal McLaren] up and going,” she said.
— With reporting from Steve Guthrie and files from The Canadian Press
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