An Irish ferry may have found a permanent grave at the bottom of the Miramichi River despite calls from local residents to have the Canima removed.

The Canima sank at the Millbank wharf near Miramichi just before Christmas, where it continues to rest.

Ward Scott, who operates the wharf where the Canima is still tied up, said there is only a quarter of the old ferry still above water.

Scott said he wants the vessel gone. But he is finding out that a solution may not be easy.

Transport Canada says salvaging the sunken ship is not its responsibility because the Canima is not blocking a shipping lane or threatening the environment.

The federal government said it is up to the ferry’s owner to clean it up. But that is also causing a problem.

Del Schultz, the Arizona businessman who bought the Canima in 2002, claims he sold the ferry.

Schultz would not agree to a recorded interview and he would not say when or to whom he sold the Canima.

But the Arizona businessman said the Canima is no longer his responsibility.

Scott said as far as he knows Schultz still owns the ferry, but wouldn't say whether he's getting any docking fees.

This isn’t the first time Schultz has found himself in hot political water. The Canima was stuck on a sand bar in Shediac Bay for about two years.

Schultz refused to pay to have the ship removed from Shediac Bay in 2005, so the provincial government paid $100,000 to haul it to Miramichi.

Scott said if the owner won't salvage the ship from the Millbank wharf, the provincial government should be responsible for hauling it out of the river because it towed the Canima to Miramichi.

But the provincial government says it won't assume responsibility for the Canima again.