Ship stuck on Scatarie Island stranded by feds
The MV Miner stuck on Scatarie Island and ripped apart by a storm last week has now become a political hot potato with the federal government saying its work is done.
Sebastian Coppes, of Mammoet Salvage, who supervised the removal of 10,000 litres of oil and other pollutants from the decommissioned bulk carrier, said it is beyond repair.
"Last week that big wind storm hit the ship and now it's definitely beyond re-floating. So, the only way to remove the ship is to cut it up in pieces," he said from Houston.
That kind of salvage job could cost millions of dollars. The Canadian Coast Guard paid the bill to remove the fuel, but says the buck stops there.
In a joint statement released Wednesday, the federal government says the vessel is no longer a threat.
Transporation Minister Denis Lebel said the ship is not a hazard to navigation.
"We have fulfilled our duties, and have worked in close collaboration with our federal partners, and will continue to be engaged as necessary," he said in a statement.
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield said the marine environment is safe.
"I am pleased that the Canadian Coast Guard fulfilled its responsibility in this matter quickly and as efficiently as possible," Ashfield said. "As a result, there is no further evidence of oil pollution."
Nova Scotia taxpayers could be on hook
Premier Darrell Dexter said that's unacceptable.
"I think it's an ill considered decision," he said. "We didn't permit it to be towed, we were not the ones who contracted for its delivery overseas. We are the innocent victim."
The ship was being towed to Turkey when it broke free on Sept. 20.
Last Friday, the Nova Scotia government detained the Hellas, the Greek tugboat that was towing the Miner, after filing a $15-million claim. The province estimated it would cost nearly $25 million to remove the ship if it could not float.
But there's a chance the company can't afford to pay.
Coppes said if the government is unable to get anything from the tugboat company then "at the end of the day it's up to the Canadian taxpayer what they want to do with it."
Dexter said Nova Scotians could end up on the financial hook.
"There is some possibility that if the federal government doesn't step up on this that we may end up bearing the brunt of those costs," Dexter said.
The premier said he'll do all he can to persuade the federal government to change its mind.
If he's unable to do so, Dexter said there are going to be some hard questions asked of the ministers responsible next week in the House of Commons.
In the meantime, Dexter said he is trying to get in touch with the minister of fisheries to push the departments to take some responsibility.