Abandoned cargo ship listing in Lac Saint-Louis prompts fears of spill

A drop in water levels in Lac Saint-Louis has prompted fears about the stability of an abandoned cargo ship on Montreal’s South Shore.

The Kathryn Spirit is leaning heavily to one side in Lac Saint-Louis

The Kathryn Spirit, a cargo ship sitting abandoned in Lac Saint-Louis on Montreal's South Shore, is leaning heavily to one side, prompting fears about the boat's stability. (Radio-Canada)

A drop in water levels in Lac Saint-Louis has prompted fears about the stability of an abandoned cargo ship on Montreal's South Shore.

Transport Canada notified the Canadian Coast Guard about the potential problem with the Kathryn Spirit after it carried out a routine inspection on the ship Friday, which is leaning heavily to one side.

The ship was abandoned near Beauharnois, Que. more than four years ago.

Beauharnois Mayor Claude Haineault said it's the first time the ship has listed to that degree since it floated into his town.

"They added a lot of cables to it. There's a great danger, if you ask me ... that the boat will tip over into the water," he said.

A follow-up inspection on Saturday by the Canadian Coast Guard revealed the Kathryn Spirit is stable. The helicopter flying above did not pick up any signs of pollution coming from the ship in the lake.

''The situation is stable again, but we're still going to monitor the situation on site for the next few days," said Martin Blouin, the superintendent for environmental response at the Canadian Coast Guard. 

Blouin said once the ship is stabilized and crews leave, it will be monitored through cameras.

A Canadian Coast Guard helicopter flies in to Beauharnois, Que. The coast guard and Transport Canada are on site evaluating what to do with the Kathyrn Spirit, an abandoned cargo ship that has started to lean heavily to one side. (Radio-Canada)

Pollutants were removed from the ship in 2013 but the derelict ship contains water contaminated by crude oil in its ballast.

Earlier this year, a committee made up of federal and provincial government representatives decided the best course of action would be to dismantle the ship without moving it from the lake.

With files from Antoni Nerestant