Over the long Easter weekend, March 21-24, enterprising thieves rummaged through the federal government building at 1230 Government Street in Victoria, BC. Sources for Martin’s Marine Engineering Page – www.dieselduck.net say the thieves had a “all access” electronic pass card, allowing them full access, which they used, as they repeatedly came and carted off stolen goods over the duration of the long weekend. It appears the theft was general in nature, stealing mostly “quick cash” items: flat screen monitors, personal effects, government checks from one cracked safe, and attempting to crack another. One of the office raided in the thieves’ revelry, was the fifth floor office of Transport Canada Marine Safety. My sources state that laptops and other electronics were taken from this office at which point, my interest was peaked.
We all know full well the position Transport Canada holds in our daily professional lives as marine engineers, and certainly the impact they potentially have on the general public. Detailed security plans for ships and licensing of seafarers are just a couple of topics that in my view, could be disastrous in the wrong hands. I certainly hope the staff practiced very good security protocol since the laptops in skilled hands, I imagine could be used to access databases like the “no fly list” or “emergency response” documentation, just to name a few items of concern. Transport Canada’s mandate is broad and affect the security of Canadian society at its roots.
Victoria Police Department is investigating the theft and did not wish to elaborate on many details, other than to confirm the occurrence of theft from the building, of which Transport Canada is a tenant. Sgt. Grant Hamilton, spokesperson for the VPD, stated that the investigation is in full swing and that some property has been recovered, but decline to say what was originally taken or what was recovered. From the VPD perspective, it appears that Transport Canada was not specifically targeted. He further stated that Transport Canada, along with all government agencies affected by the break in, were fully cooperative.
Transport Canada spokesperson, Jillian Glover from Regional Headquarters in Vancouver, stated that indeed, an un-authorize access to their offices in Victoria did occur, but that a secure zone within the office was not compromised. She further stated that the Victoria Police Department was the sole investigative agency at this time, and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP – federal police force) or Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) were not involved. M. Glover declined to comment on the specifics of what was taken, but believed that Transport Canada was not targeted specifically. She further stated that services provided by that office, are believe to not have been affected.
Our sources say that the fifth floor offices of Transport Canada were under video surveillance at the time, and one must assume that the VPD have a pretty clear picture of the culprits, and will be able to recover the stolen materials, hopefully un-compromised.