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UER Mobile > Canada: Alberta / BC > The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021 (Viewed 1453 times)

post by EPOCH6   |  | 
The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021
< on 12/27/2021 11:59 PM >

I have been waiting a very, very long time to make this post. The Queen of Sidney is nothing short of an urban legend in BC, capturing the imaginations of many, infuriating others, obscured behind a dense fog of misinformation and now two full decades of rumor, hearsay, and legal drama. This location, like Riverview, the McBarge, or Carolin Mine, has generated so much public interest over the years that it transcends the urbex community and is continually the subject of public scrutiny, opinion pieces, and local headlines.

Very glad to have finally made this one happen and excited to share a photo set that I've been desperate to create for so many years.

God Save The Queen.

The Queen of Sidney is a very hazardous location and difficult to access for many reasons. The interior air quality and surfaces of the ship are about as bad as it gets: mold, asbestos, rust, household waste, human waste, engine oil, diesel fuel, flammable chemical spills, sharp objects everywhere, open holes, unsecure catwalks and bridges, rotten flooring, flooding throughout the lower level, no lighting. The hull of the ferry is constantly shifting position which changes both the water level in the lower engine room and the distance between the Queen and the adjacent San Mateo shipwreck, this can very easily leave one stranded on board at a moment's notice.


Built: 1960
Decommissioned: 2000

BC Ferries sold the ship for $100,000 in 2002 to Rainy River Cedar Ltd. of Roberts Creek. Rainy River's Brad Boser said he bought the ferry with the intention of "stripping it down and selling the components," but instead sold it for the same price to Art Klassen, who worked at a cedar shake mill in Abbotsford. He removed the copper wiring, the generators were sold through Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, and he sold various parts back to BC Ferries.

Klassen said there were some wild rumours flying during his ownership of the Queen of Sidney. In response to a rumour that he planned to convert the ferry into a marijuana-growing operation, he drove to the RCMP station in Mission to tell them they could drop by any time to see he wasn't involved in criminal activity. At various times, Klassen thought about putting a small mill on the ferry or using it as a floating work camp. "It's too big, too expensive to move it or do anything with it. That's why it stayed right there."

The Queen of Sidney arrived in Silverdale in 2002 and the Tapp brothers took possession in 2006. The Tapp brothers have gradually accumulated decommissioned vessels since buying their four-hectare property in 1996.

The passenger decks are mostly stripped of furniture. A few tables, filing cabinets, lockers etc remain. A few emergency lifeboats are left and fastened to the ship's upper passenger deck. Sandwiched and decaying between the Queen of Sidney and the riverbank is the remains of the century old SS San Mateo, a San Fransisco steamship built in 1922 and retired in 1969. The San Mateo is beyond repair and sinking into the riverbank leaving the interior spaces destroyed and inaccessible.

During the floods of 2012 the B.C. Environment Minister Terry Lake issued an emergency declaration due to risk of the ferry breaking free from its mooring and wreaking havoc on downstream infrastructure. This allowed for the provincial government to intervene, hiring contractors to further secure the ferry by driving additional pilings into the riverbank, insisting that the province will recover the costs from the property owners.

Two years later, joint efforts to dismantle and scrap the vessels by the ALC, the Tapps, and an unnamed financial group were halted due to an outstanding $205,000 lien owed to the Ministry of Environment by the Tapps. Tapp was offered $250,000 salvage value for the vessel but declined, citing insurance and trust concerns.

"They’re bullies,” the 75-year-old said of the officials who secured the boats against rising floodwaters, installing new pilings and moorings to secure the vessels, which include an old B.C. Ferry, the Queen of Sidney.

“I figure they’re corrupt and I realized they’re corrupt…and when money speaks the truth is silent,” he said, adding that if it comes down to it he would appeal his case to Queen Elizabeth. “She can just read the facts,” he said.

Three companies have expressed interest in salvaging the vessels. One wanted to tow the ferry to Asia, while the other two planned to scrap them on-site.

Tapp has had his share of court battles and has been sued by the Township of Langley at least twice. In 2002, he was ordered to pay $100,000 for cleaning up an unsightly property near the Fort Langley Airport. A township lawyer says that money has yet to be paid.





The Queen of Sidney has been used as a film set in multiple films and TV series such as Supernatural, The X-Files, The Secret Circle, The Sea Beast, Mech X-4, The Marine 3: Homefront, Flash Gordon, Damage and Canadian Pickers.


In 2012 The Agricultural Land Commission ordered Tapp to cease all non-farm work on his Mission property, including film deals. Despite this order the property has appeared in multiple TV series since.


From 2006 onward the interior space of the ferry has been used for the storage of vintage cars, magazines, boats, forklifts, parts and engines. The ferry has also been home to multiple camper van tenants over the years including Gerald Tapp. Tapp occasionally allowed local kids to play airsoft on board between 2006 and 2010.

Over the last couple of years decay and vandalism has accelerated significantly both inside and out. A stationary barge used to load vehicles into the Queen of Sidney was recently removed from the site, leaving two destroyed Ford Rangers, a camper van, a recreational boat, half a dozen forklifts, and a boom lift stranded inside.

The lower level engine room contains the partially scrapped and heavily vandalized remains of two massive 6000 horsepower Mirrlees diesel engines. The engine room is flooded with a thick mixture of oil and river water that quickly rises and falls depending on the testing position of the ship. The hull of the ship is resting upon river bottom and does shift often while on board.

[last edit 12/28/2021 12:04 AM by EPOCH6 - edited 1 times]

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post by blackswann   |  | 
Re: The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021
<Reply # 1 on 12/28/2021 4:55 AM >

wow, impressive set! i've always wanted to go there but have heard some stories about tapp being aggressive to people trying to enter. I hope i get to see it before it gets dismantled or moved, been a dream spot for years!

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post by aaronni   |  | 
Re: The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021
<Reply # 2 on 12/28/2021 5:41 AM >

Amazing! Such a pity about that engine room, that prime mover has seen better days.

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post by EPOCH6   |  | 
Re: The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021
<Reply # 3 on 12/28/2021 10:45 AM >

Posted by blackswann
wow, impressive set! i've always wanted to go there but have heard some stories about tapp being aggressive to people trying to enter. I hope i get to see it before it gets dismantled or moved, been a dream spot for years!

I think it's primarily Tapp's neighbors that have been aggressive over the years. Back in 2010 some good friends of mine were able to convince the two tenants that lived inside the Queen to let them in, as long as they agreed to stay out of the engine room. From what I've read and the videos I've seen Tapp himself seems fairly laid back, just wants to be left alone to his empire of junk. He has also been known to allow kids to play air-soft on board.

The aggression isn't a surprise to me nor should it be to anyone. As a frequent film set there has always been a financial incentive to keep explorers and vandals out. Neither the Tapps nor their neighbors want the police anywhere near Cooper Avenue. Tapp already owes the province hundreds of thousands of dollars in environmental fines and liens, WorkSafeBC has been trying to shut down filming operations there for years, the Agricultural Land Commission has been trying to stop them from using the property as a film set entirely. And who knows what the neighbors might be hiding down the street. The last thing anybody on Cooper Avenue wants is to draw more attention to the Queen, they will never call the cops on explorers, much more effective to build up a reputation of zero tolerance.

[last edit 12/28/2021 10:47 AM by EPOCH6 - edited 1 times]

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post by Jester   |  | 
Re: The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021
<Reply # 4 on 2/3/2022 10:16 PM >

The pair have certainly taken a beating since I was there almost 20 years ago (2003). The pilothouse is almost entirely bare compared to back then.

448189.jpg (46 kb, 640x480)
click to view

And I'd guess the safe is gone? lol

448190.jpg (35 kb, 640x480)
click to view

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post by SaskExplorer   |  | 
Re: The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021
<Reply # 5 on 2/20/2022 5:46 AM >

Looks like it would have been quite the ferry to see back in it's prime.

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post by KublaKhan   |  | 
Re: The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021
<Reply # 6 on 5/12/2022 2:01 AM >

Really nice. Great photographs. That one sweet score. Thrilling, isn't it?

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post by Alpine7840   |  | 
Re: The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021
<Reply # 7 on 5/12/2022 5:19 PM >

Great set!!!! Thank you for the pics and all the info!

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post by Zikan   |  | 
Re: The Queen of Sidney - Derelict BC Ferry - December, 2021
<Reply # 8 on 5/13/2022 2:00 AM >

Great photos!

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