Salvage company still anchored to MV Miner job
Bennington Group still wants to remove the vessel, despite threats to abandon project
A New York-based salvage company is still working with the province to remove a vessel stranded off the coast of Cape Breton, despite threats from the company earlier this week that they would walk away from the salvage because of delays.
The MV Miner has been stuck on the shores of Scatarie Island for more than a year and Bennington Group was hired for the salvage.
Marilyn More, the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, said the company hasn't gone anywhere.
"Regional staff are working very diligently and very closely with the company and we're working towards getting all the answers we need to the questions, to reassure ourselves that it's going to be a safe workplace," she said.
"From the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, the worker safety issue is the primary one."
Last week, the province issued a stop work order to the company because of safety concerns. It also ordered the Bennington Group to provide an engineering report on whether the salvage could be done safely.
The company eventually submitted a report but More said her staff still have questions.
"I know when the first report came in our regional staff stayed up until all hours of the night to review it," she said.
"Even the independent engineer indicated there were still aspects of what had been asked for that were missing, so we're waiting for that information."
The salvage of the MV Miner has been plagued with delays. The bulk carrier was being towed from Montreal to Turkey when it's tow line snapped stranding it on the shores of Scatarie Island.
Early on, the province and the federal government fought over whose responsibility it was to get rid of the ship. There were also delays getting a salvage plan together and thieves stole equipment to be used in the salvage.
Thus far, none of the ship has been removed.
More said things are moving forward and the company is co-operating with the province to get a new permit so it can remove the MV Miner. Exactly when the permit could be issued isn't clear.
"When they can supply sufficient and complete information that has been asked for, so as soon as that's available," said More.
Until then, the sea will continue to break the ship down a piece at a time. There are already huge holes in the vessel's hull.