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Victoria publisher had thousands of children’s books on board MV Zim Kingston

Unknown whether books were burned, lost at sea, or survived
Numerous containers onboard the MV Zim Kingston caught on fire and another 109 were lost at sea. (Canadian Coast Guard/Twitter)

A Victoria children’s book publisher is anxiously waiting to hear the fate of 15,000 books it had onboard the cargo ship that recently caught fire and lost over 100 shipping containers off the capital’s coast.

Orca Book Publishers said it doesn’t know whether the books were destroyed in the fire, lost to sea, or remain safely onboard the now stable MV Zim Kingston. It does know that the shipment contained a number of bestselling nonfiction titles, four of which were written by Victoria-based authors, and that it would like to get them on shop’s bookshelves.

The shipment was among the last Orca Book Publishers had scheduled to come from printers in China and Korea after it decided earlier this year to transition the bulk of its printing to Canada.

“There are many reasons for this shift; politically, socially, environmentally we are endeavouring to match our printing decisions more closely to our overall mandate and goals,” publisher Andrew Wooldridge said in a press release Thursday. He said combined with all the other supply chain issues businesses have faced during the pandemic, the potential loss of thousands of books was an unwelcomed surprise.

The publishing company thanked firefighters and crews who have worked to put out the cargo ship fire.

READ ALSO: Ship that lost 109 containers near Victoria is now stable: operator

As of Wednesday, the company that manages the vessel said the remaining containers on the ship are safe and will be unloaded once a port of call has been identified. Meanwhile, some of the contents of the 109 containers lost off the ship during stormy weather before the fire have washed ashore on the northwest side of Vancouver Island.

Whether Orca Book Publisher’s books are among the wreckage remains to be seen.

READ ALSO: Refrigerators, styrofoam, garbage on B.C. beaches after containers spilled from ship

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