MAIN-A-DIEU — The request for proposals to clean up the derelict MV Miner from Scatarie Island should be finalized by the end of the week, said the province’s transportation minister.
© Steve Wadden - Cape Breton Post
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 department is very close to finalizing the request for proposals, and the next steps are about to be taken.
“The problem that we had in unsuccessful attempts to clean up the MV Miner, is that it just wasn't specific enough. So we took the time with the RFP to make sure that we've got every environmental component, every safety component, every occupational health and safety component considered before we put this out to tenders.”
After the request for proposals is finalized, the project will go into the procurement phas, and bidding from international companies can begin, said MacLellan.
The bidding will last for 30 days.
The department ran into difficulties finalizing the request for proposals because of the harsh winter the island experienced this year. Originally, the plan was to have the ship cleaned up before the beginning of fishing season in May.
“We were truly hoping to have it completed before the beginning of the season, but this has been a very difficult year for ice flow and ice build up. It’s been tough to get out to the Miner and get accurate assessments of what’s required to clean it up.”
The new hope is to have the site cleaned up by summer. However, if the project will interfere with the fishing season, the department will discuss the start date with the fishermen of the area.
“We signaled to the local fishermen in that area that we would consult with them before beginning the project. So, if it does tie into the start of the fishing season, which is the middle of May, then we can give them the option,” said MacLellan.
“They can decide whether or not we begin it immediately or hold off until after the fishing season.”
Estimates of the cost of removing the vessel are difficult to judge, given that they have ranged from between $3 million and $5 million on the low end, to $25 million on the high end.
“It’s going to be a challenging project. But having said that, we want to make sure that we’re maximizing value and ensuring that taxpayers who shouldn’t be responsible for this as is, are going to get the best value.”
MacLellan said he is still hoping for the federal government to cost-share the salvage effort, despite not being able to secure a meeting with federal Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt.
"When I arrive back in Halifax this evening, we're going to reach out once again and see if we can establish a meeting for an immediate time frame, as quickly as she can possibly fit me in, then I'll travel to Ottawa to meet with her directly."