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The Vancouver Sun reported that a fishing trawler has hit, and then knocked out a valuable section of the Neptune Canada Observatory (NCO). The pod was loaded up with pricey titanium instruments which monitor things like earthquakes and tsunamis. Director of Neptune Canada Chris Barnes estimates the cost of repairing the damage anywhere from $700,000 to $1.7 million.

The pod, which suffered a “major blow” (according to Barnes) was set up in 2009, and was intended to run for 25 years. Unfortunately, that span was cut short when the trawler dragged it’s giant net across the sea floor in an unsanctioned zone, and bumped into the pod. The delicate instruments, tracked the trawler as it approached the pod, and then immediately ceased reporting data after being hit. There is actual data and even acoustic images of the large net coming down from the surface. The net scooped out the instruments, which were later on dumped into the boat, and flushed out with the fish.

Unfortunately, since there are potential legal implications, the trawler has not been identified, and the NCO continues it’s internal investigation. It’s important to note that NCO designers consulted with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in order to avoid such an indecent. A significant amount of money was used by the observatory to protect against potential damage from fishing boats. NCO has cables stretching 800 kilometers across the B.C.’s sea floor, provided the fishing industry with detailed navigational information, and instructed vessels to stay clear of the equipment.

[via The Vancouver Sun]

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