Ship stranded off Cape Breton won't be moved until spring
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, October 13, 2011 3:26PM EDT
HALIFAX - A bulk carrier that became extensively damaged after it ran aground off Cape Breton last month won't be removed until at least the spring, Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter said Thursday.
Dexter said with winter approaching, the MV Miner would likely remain where it sits on Scatarie Island, a provincial wilderness management area.
When asked whether the ship would remain there until the spring, Dexter responded, "I don't think there's any chance that won't happen now."
The frustrated premier said he would continue efforts to have the federal government accept responsibility for the vessel, but he added the province was now considering removing contaminants and ultimately the ship itself.
"This is the responsibility of the federal government," he said. "They at least need to engage us on the manner in which it's going to be dealt with and that's not happening."
Dexter said any removal operation would now run into the millions of dollars because the 230-metre long vessel would have to be cut up into pieces to be salvaged.
He said the province and its taxpayers were the "innocent victims" of the mishap.
"We were just unlucky enough to be in the tow path of that vessel and we shouldn't have to be responsible for this, but yet here we are."
The ship was being towed by a tugboat to a Turkish scrapyard when it broke free in rough seas and became stranded on a shoal on Sept. 20. All subsequent attempts to pull the former Great Lakes freighter off the rocks have failed.
Dexter said he wants Ottawa to deal with further environmental cleanup of the vessel, which he said contains some asbestos-laden material and a transformer containing PCBs, before the province takes responsibility of the wreck.
In a joint statement released Wednesday, Transport Canada and the coast guard said they have fulfilled their commitments and concluded there was no pollution coming from the ship and it didn't pose a risk to navigation.
The federal government said it has removed 10,000 litres of marine diesel oil, lubricants and oily waste from the vessel.
The provincial government also said Thursday that it has released the tug that was towing the ship from arrest after its owner posted a security of more than $1 million.
Dexter said his government will proceed with a lawsuit it filed last week in Federal Court seeking damages caused by the tug.
According to their statement of claim, the government accuses the tug's owners of negligence and says the cost of salvage and cleanup could hit $24 million if the vessel breaks up.
A statement of defence has not been filed and the allegations contained in the claim have not been proven in court.