GUYSBOROUGH – After months of waiting, the sunken fishing vessel tied to the Tickle Wharf in Canso has been removed.
On the evening of March 2, the derelict vessel was raised and towed away, much to the relief of area residents and fishers.
The boat sank in late November and was raised in mid-December by the Canadian Coast Guard to remove all bulk pollutants. But, when the vessel was returned to the water at that time, it sank again.
The Municipality of the District of Guysborough discussed the issue of the boat at several council meetings and sent a letter to the Coast Guard and Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway requesting its immediate removal from the water in January.
At the MODG council meeting in mid-February, the issue of the sunken vessel was once again on the agenda. MODG CAO Barry Carroll told council that, while in discussion with MP Kelloway about the issue, he had been told the vessel belonged to First Nations fishers who were financially unable to remove the vessel. In such cases, the responsibility to remove of the vessel falls to the federal government.
On March 3, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans informed The Journal via email that the boat at the Tickle Wharf had been removed the previous day, “by Trident Marine Services, the contractor engaged by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG).”
The email went on to state that, “In Canada, polluters are responsible for their actions and must cover all costs related to the safe and effective cleanup of oil spills…If the polluter is unknown, unwilling or unable to respond, or if the response is insufficient, CCG responds quickly and effectively to ship-source oil spills. In this case, the vessel owner is unable to respond to the incident, so CCG issued a contract to remove the vessel and eliminate the threat of pollution.
“Pursuant to the Marine Liability Act, costs incurred by the Department to monitor or respond to marine pollution incidents are recoverable either from the polluter or from national and international compensation agencies. In this case, the contract to remove the vessel from the water was worth $50, 600,” read the email.