The Nanaimo Port Authority is conducting an audit after logs broke loose from a boom near Protection Island during a recent storm.

The port has four can buoys in the area with 90 bundles that broke loose and went into Mark Bay onto the shore on March 10 – they were recovered between March 11 and 12. It was a perfect-storm scenario with the big currents, big tides and big water volume, said David Mailloux, port authority spokesman.

Work was done to brace the buoys in anticipation of the forecasted weather event and the audit will give the port authority the opportunity to review the situation and see how it can be avoided in the future.

“What you’re doing is you’re trying to shore up the booms, making sure that the integrity of the boom is going to be in place,” said Mailloux. “Maybe if there’s more volume than you think, I mean in calm conditions you might say [it’s] OK, but now if we’ve got winds or currents, maybe we need to alleviate some of the weight.

“We might need to separate them so that they can withstand some force, but the force of this, the winds were pretty big, the currents were even bigger and it was the currents that really drove the issue because if the winds are part of it, the currents with the volume of the water, at high tide, that’s what really makes the difference.”

Larry Slogar, a Protection Island resident, said the can buoys were installed years ago and won’t hold “great big acres of logs.”

“I wouldn’t say it happens every year, but it does happen. Maybe every five years one of [the can buoys] will break loose,” said Slogar. “They’ve got big cement anchors on them … they’ll just rot away in the middle of summer time and break loose.”

Mailloux said there were reports of damage, but nothing confirmed. Everything is still being investigated, he said.

The incident is rare and nobody was hurt, which is great, said Mailloux.

He didn’t have a timeline for when the audit would be complete.