Residents wary of feds' motive to investigate Manolis L

Manolis L

The Manolis L sank off Newfoundland's Notre Dame Bay in 1985. It contains an estimated 450 tonnes of fuel, which local residents worry will spill out if it isn't soon removed. (Courtesy Maritime History Archive, Memorial University)



The Canadian Coast Guard is looking at conducting an in-depth investigation of the Manolis L, the sunken vessel in Notre Dame Bay holding an estimated 450 tonnes of fuel.

An investigation would determine the status of the ship's hull, and identify where the leak is coming from. Fisheries Minister Gail Shea announced last week that the coast guard is consulting companies that specialize in marine salvage.

Local residents have long feared that a massive oil spill from the Manolis L is imminent. While some are applauding Ottawa's plan for a technical assessment, they are also concerned that it's a ploy to attract votes.

"I don't see any sort of timeline when they're going to do it. Is it going to be 2015, is it going to be next year? It doesn't go far enough," said Caroline Parsons, co-chair of the Manolis L Citizens Response Committee in an interview with CBC Radio.

Possible campaign tactic

Parsons said that, with a federal election around the corner, some residents are skeptical whether anything will come from an investigation.

"For us it means nothing. I don't think you can get a single vote out of this. It's nothing substantial and it's late in the game. Meanwhile we're still waiting," she said.

Parsons is also concerned that an expert analysis commissioned by the committee has found the vessel's hull to be wearing thin.

"She's degrading there and time is our thing. We have to get this done before she cracks open and spoils everything out there," she said.

"Press releases are great but we'd like to see some action."

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