Work to dismantle a bulk carrier stranded and breaking up off Cape Breton could finally begin next week, but the finger-pointing about who's responsible for months of delays in salvaging the MV Miner continues.
The Bennington Group of New York was hired in May and the salvage was expected to begin in June, but work has not begun on the wreck.
Following meetings in Halifax this week, the province says the salvage company hasn't even submitted a plan yet. That provoked an angry response from the head of the Bennington Group, Abe Shah.
"I don't appreciate being a pawn in a game between provincial and federal governments in Canada, you know I'm not there to make friends or enemies. I'm just tired of it," Shah said.
Shah says both levels of government have spent months arguing over jurisdictional issues — and he can't proceed until those are sorted out.
In Halifax, Premier Darrell Dexter says the blame lies with the federal government, which has been reluctant to get involved from the beginning.
"There has been very little responsibility by the federal government for it, we'd just like to see the project completed," said Dexter.
Shah says it now looks as though the salvage will finally go forward.
He says he finally has a commitment from the coast guard to carry out a pre-demolition survey of the ship next week. After the survey, the salvage can then begin.
He adds his company has already spent $200,000 on the project and is committed to seeing it through.
Community wants wreck gone
It's been almost a year since the MV Miner broke it's towline and ran aground on Scatarie Island.
The waters around the island are an important part of the areas lobster industry.
Amanda McDougall, project coordinator at Main–a–Dieu Community Development Association, said with hurricane season already underway, people who fish there can't wait to have the remains of the barge removed.
"People might get the wrong idea and think, 'Oh my goodness, it's not so clean out there any more. Why should we buy those fish?'"
"You have delayed and delayed after such a wonderful calm and hot summer," said McDougall, "Why, now, are you still saying to us, 'Don't worry it will be done but we will have to extend our time frame.'"
Some fishermen say they have almost given up hope the wreck will ever be removed. They say before anything is done a big storm will finish the ship off and its wreckage will join that of dozens of other ships that have come to their end around Scatarie Island.