Local MP applauds as coast guard works to secure derelict ship from N.S. river

BRIDGEWATER, N.S. — The Canadian Coast Guard has secured a listing navy vessel from a Nova Scotia river, in the latest major case to occur in a federal cabinet minister who has championed the cause of removing derelict vessels.

The agency said in a briefing Monday that a federal environmental team arrived at the site on the LaHave River in Bridgewater, N.S., on Dec. 1, and contractors began work on the Cormorant the next day.

“I’m quite pleased to see the amount of work,” said federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, who has made addressing the problem of abandoned and derelict vessels a personal priority since her election in 2015.

“It’s nice to drive by and see people actually working on this issue.”

Jordan introduced a motion in Parliament in 2016 requesting action on removing derelict vessels abandoned in Canada’s coastal communities. Former NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson also authored a private member’s bill.

Ottawa later towed the MV Farley Mowat, the one-time flagship of an environmental group that had long since become a derelict, polluting eyesore, out of Shelburne harbour, to great fanfare.

On Monday, the coast guard said it had removed 19,000 litres of oily bilge water and improved the moorings of the Cormorant, and was planning a “permanent solution” that could include removal.

Jordan, who is the MP for South Shore-St. Margaret’s, announced an assessment of the Cormorant in the summer.

The review found the former naval diving vessel, constructed in the early 1960s, hadn’t been maintained: its mooring lines were in poor condition, sea valves weren’t sealed and the ship was listing noticeably to one side.

David Yard, Atlantic regional superintendent of the coast guard’s environmental response unit, said in an interview that the first week of work focused on securing and stabilizing of the vessel at the dock.

This included the installation of eight new 60-metre mooring lines and two large fenders.

“The vessel was rubbing against the dock, taking pieces of concrete out … The vessel is now secure at the dock and that objective is completed,” he said.

The contractors then removed bilge water to assist in the righting of the ship from a notable list to “a minor list,” said Yard. The team also removed 13,000 litres of water from the accommodation spaces.

They also secured leaking valves and used divers to weld on plates under the hull to prevent water entering some sea water storage areas referred to as “sea chests.”

There is no cost estimate yet on what the coast guard has spent, though Yard says under the principles of the Canada Shipping Act, the coast guard will attempt to recover costs from the vessel’s owners.

If the owners are unable or unwilling to pay, the coast guard will send a claim to the Ship Source Pollution Fund for reimbursements of its costs, he said.

The fund’s website states it is “an independent fund under the Marine Liability Act, which is responsible for the investigation and payment of claims for oil spills from all classes of ships in Canada.”

Yard said the fund can attempt to eventually recover costs from the owners when claims are made. He said a Federal Court decision has identified the owners as the Port of Bridgewater and a numbered Canadian company.

Jordan said abandoned, derelict vessels like the Cormorant are a major headache to communities across the country. She said when she was researching legislation several years ago there were about 600 such vessels.

After the initial motion she brought forward, the Liberal government brought in Bill C-64: the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act.

It passed earlier this year, making it illegal to abandon boats in Canada.

She said she expects her new legislation, which wasn’t in force when the Cormorant was tied up at the dock, will reduce instances of vessel abandonment in the future.

“It used to be that you could park one wherever you wanted and walk away from it and not be responsible for it. The new legislation actually changed that,” she said.

— By Michael Tutton in Halifax.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2019.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fibre optic network on the way for Red Deer County

Better internet speed and reducing costs

Conservatives say police should be called in to investigate WE charity scandal

OTTAWA — The Conservatives said Friday they want a criminal investigation into… Continue reading

Economy adds 953,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate falls

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the economy added nearly one million jobs… Continue reading

Police apologize after 911 call where white woman reports Black man in a park

Ottawa police have apologized for how they handled an incident where a… Continue reading

After lobbying, Catholic Church won $1.4B in virus aid

NEW YORK — The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and… Continue reading

PODCAST: COVID-19 and the US Election

The Expert welcomes Burman University Political Scientist Marc Froese

Red Deer Hospital Foundation Dream home and Mega Bucks 50/50 winners announced

With all the bad news that has landed over the last several… Continue reading

PODCAST: COVID-19 and the US Election

The Expert welcomes Burman University Political Scientist Marc Froese

Montreal Impact lose 1-0 to New England at MLS is Back Tournament in Florida

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Argentine forward Gustavo Bou scored early in the second… Continue reading

Baseball is back in Japan, and so are fans in the stadiums

TOKYO — Japan’s professional baseball league opened the delayed season three weeks… Continue reading

Depp says feces in bed was last straw in marriage to Heard

LONDON — Johnny Depp said in a London court on Friday that… Continue reading

Telefilm Canada investigating allegations of misconduct against employee

TORONTO — Telefilm Canada says it has launched an investigation into allegations… Continue reading

Racist slurs during Conservative leadership debate not surprising: Lewis

Racist slurs during Conservative leadership debate not surprising: Lewis

‘Vowed myself to silence:’ Woman says she couldn’t cope after Edmonton attack

‘Vowed myself to silence:’ Woman says she couldn’t cope after Edmonton attack

Most Read