Orca publishing company worries about fate of 15,000 books onboard cargo vessel that caught fire near Victoria

Another B.C. company, London Drugs, appears to have lost a shipment of Christmas tableware

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      A B.C. publisher has revealed that it may be one of the companies hit hard by a fire onboard the MV Zim Kingston.

      In a statement on its website, Orca Book Publishers says it's still waiting to learn what happened to 15,000 of its books that were on the ship when it caught fire off the coast of Victoria last month.

      At this point, the company doesn't know if the books were burned, lost in the water, or are still on the boat. The shipment included print runs of five children's books, including four written by Victoria authors.

      Regardless of the books' fate, it will mean delays in filling orders in advance of the holiday shopping season.

      “Earlier this year, we made the decision to transition the bulk of our printing away from printing overseas in favour of printing in Canada,” publisher Andrew Wooldridge says in the Orca statement. “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.

      "These books were amongst the last planned printings in China and Korea. Combined with all the other supply chain issues, this was a surprising development that certainly caught us off-guard.”

      Another company affected by the fire is London Drugs. Its president and CEO, Clint Mahlman, told Global News that two containers on the vessel were filled with Christmas tableware destined for the B.C.-based retailer.

      “It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost sales and profit for London Drugs,” Mahman told Global News.

      Some of the goods on the ship have been showing up on beaches.