Nova Scotia to remove MV Miner with or without Ottawa’s help: minister

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HALIFAX — The wreck of a ship that ran aground in a protected area off Cape Breton will be removed — with or without Ottawa’s help, Nova Scotia’s transportation minister says.

A file photo shows a water-level view of the MV Miner, aground on Scatarie Island, with extensive structural damage on a large portion of the ship on Oct. 13, 2011. The 230-metre ship broke free from its tow vessel before coming to rest along the rocky island.

Geoff MacLellan said the provincial government is still hoping for federal funding to help remove the MV Miner, but it will nonetheless forge ahead with plans to get rid of the 230-metre bulk carrier. He said the government intends to have that done prior to the beginning of the lobster fishing season in mid-May.

“We are going to remove the Miner,” MacLellan said in an interview Monday. “We made that commitment to the people of Nova Scotia.”

The ship became stranded in September 2011 off the coast of Scatarie Island, a provincially protected wilderness area, after a line snapped in rough seas while it was being towed from Montreal to a scrapyard in Turkey.

MacLellan said the province will present federal Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt with a removal plan including cost estimates after a request for proposals is issued early next year.

He said he will then make a case that the shipwreck is a navigational hazard and Ottawa should help fund its removal and implement changes to Canadian shipping laws in order to prevent similar accidents from happening.

“We just hope the federal government will see the merit in being a partner,” said MacLellan.

MacLellan said he has yet to meet his federal counterpart to discuss the matter since being named Nova Scotia’s transportation minister nearly two months ago. But he said he hopes that will happen in the new year.

Raitt’s office did not return a request for comment. But a spokesman for Transport Canada said it has not budged from its position.

“Transport Canada’s position has not changed,” Steve Bone said in an email. “We have been assured that the MV Miner isn’t blocking navigation and contains no pollutants. The responsibility for its removal lies with MV Miner’s owner, Arvina Navigation.”

Former NDP premier Darrell Dexter tried to get the federal government to assume responsibility for the ship’s removal but was unsuccessful.

A New York-based salvage company agreed to take on the task, but walked away from the job citing frustrations with bureaucratic hurdles and calling for the province to pay for expenses.

MacLellan said the provincial government is also considering whether it can seek legal recourse from Arvina Navigation.

- by Keith Doucette - The Canadian Press

Organizations: Transport Canada

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Ottawa, Scatarie Island Montreal Turkey

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  • Scott McIntosh
    December 18, 2013 - 05:35

    With increased oil drilling off Nova Scotia there should be many miles of oil booms a fleet of boats ships tankers and a large supply of oil eating microbes and an always in Nova Scotia deep water oil rig for relief well always in a Nova Scotia port ! A study of what worked in the Gulf of Mexico spill so that the same mistakes do not happen again here ! And drills every year with the boats ships tankers deploying oil booms should have safety practice runs a few times per year placing money into pockets of responders Now !