Dismantling of MS Lord Selkirk II nearly complete

A cruise ship that used to sail the Red River and Lake Winnipeg now sits at a fraction of its former size in the Selkirk slough. Parts of the ship will be donated to the Marine Museum of Manitoba and others sold in a public auction.

Cruise ship's two top floors have already been removed, deck and engine room next to go

The rusted-out MS Lord Selkirk II has already had its two top floors removed, the deck and engine room are next. (Louise Machinski)

It's been an eyesore for years, slowly rusting away in the Selkirk slough. Now MS Lord Selkirk II's final journey, to the scrap heap, is nearly over.

"We just slowly pick away at this thing," said Ben Hoosier, president of SaskSteel, the company in charge of dismantling the boat.

The two top floors have already been removed, and now Hoosier's team is in the process of demolishing the last floor and the engine room. This last stage is complex and he's not sure how long it will take. 
Crews began taking the MS Lord Selkirk II apart in September. (CBC)

"Every ship is different...you've got to use your brains a little bit," he said. His company began the project in September.

Earlier this summer the province and the city partnered to pay $400,000 for the ship's demolition after public outcry and a petition. Neighbours complained about it becoming a rusty eyesore and expressed concern about a bad, fuel-like smell coming from the hull. The ship has been abandoned since the early 1990s.

While the MS Lord Selkirk II has been victim to rust, arson and vandalism over the years, Hoosier said his team still found a few gems left onboard.

"We found some dishes," he said.  "Bells, telephones, things that are unique to the ship."

Hoosier's team saved the ship's portholes, anchors and a lifeboat. Some of the valuable objects will be donated to the Marine Museum of Manitoba although Hoosier plans to keep one of the anchors for himself. An auction is also being planned so members of the public can get their hands on a momento, said Hoosier. 
The MS Lord Selkirk II first set sail in 1969, it was retired in 1990. (CBC)

"We've had a lot of people come by, [who] want a souvenir or [to] tell a story to us," he said. "It's a very interesting project, there's a lot of history here."

The MS Lord Selkirk II passenger cruise ship first set sail in 1969. Over the years it's hosted Queen Elizabeth II and a governor general on tours along the Red River and Lake Winnipeg.

"This is as close to an ocean liner as we're ever going to get in Manitoba," said Hoosier.

Mayor of Selkirk, Larry Johannson, said MS Lord Selkirk II should be completely gone from the site before winter.