Coast Guard ready to force shipwreck removal

·2 min read

MARIE JOSEPH – The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) says it is prepared to use its “legislative authorities” should the owner of a derelict ice breaker prove “unable or unwilling” to remove it from a wharf in Marie Joseph, in response to an inquiry from The Journal.

The owner of the MV Caruso – a rusting 200-foot hulk once known as the CCGS Sir Charles Tupper – has submitted a plan to dismantle the ship, the CCG said. Failing that, it said it “will use its legislative authorities to ensure threat of pollution posed by the Caruso is permanently eliminated.”

No deadline for the work was given “due to the complexity of the operation and potential weather impacts,” but the statement stipulated that the Coast Guard “will continue to monitor the owner’s progress as the plan is implemented.”

The statement confirmed that the CCG has identified the vessel’s owner, but that their personal information is protected by the Canada Privacy Act, and that there is no online registry to obtain the information.

The plan specifically “identifies the requirement to have all materials recycled/disposed of at an approved waste management facility and work conducted in accordance with all applicable federal and provincial legislation.”

Under the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, the Coast Guard coordinates and conducts hazard assessments on vessels and wrecks wherever they are located in Canadian waters and can “take appropriate actions on dilapidated vessels,” including “selling, destroying or otherwise disposing of” them.

According to Transport Canada, the Act was introduced in 2019 to improve vessel owner responsibility and liability; address irresponsible vessel management, including a ban on vessel abandonment; and enhance federal powers to take “proactive action” on hazardous ships.

“Coast Guard responds to all reports of marine pollution in Canadian waters,” the statement said. “This includes receiving the report and assessing the level of emergency to provide efficient and appropriate responses to the reports.

The Sir Charles Tupper (Caruso) appeared along Marie Joseph’s shoreline in 2011, followed several years later by the derelict tugboat Craig Trans. Media reports and area residents have indicated their owner is a Marie Joseph man who arranged to have them moored here for scrap metal.

The Craig Trans is not yet considered a pollution threat, the Coast Guard said.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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