CBC Investigates

Several abandoned ships in Nova Scotia have link to Wolfville man

Abandoned and derelict vessels dumped in small harbours have become such an issue in the province that meetings involving municipal and federal department officials and the general public will be held next week in Shelburne.

Tracy Dodds, a scrap metal dealer, believed to own at least 3 abandoned vessels

A CBC Nova Scotia investigation has learned one man is believed to own at least three abandoned vessels that dot the province's coastline and account for hours of legal proceedings and claims of unpaid berthing fees.

Tracy Dodds, a scrap metal dealer from Wolfville, declined an interview request for this story.

But CBC News has traced his collection of ships through court documents and registries — vessels that officials say he's abandoned in harbours from Shelburne to Sheet Harbour.

Craig Trans

According to court documents, Wright Cove Holding Ltd. let Dodds berth the tugboat Craig Trans free of charge at its wharf on the Dartmouth side of Halifax Harbour in the summer of 2013.

Nearly two years later, after Dodds was asked to move the ship but did not, the company started charging him berthing fees.

The Craig Trans, owned by Tracy Dodds, has been berthed in Dartmouth since 2013. The Federal Court has ordered it be sold at a public auction this month. (CBC)

As of Sept. 1, 2015, the claim for unpaid fees was $115,000 plus HST. It continues to climb.

Last month, the Federal Court ruled the tug can be sold at a public auction on Feb. 17, with the money going to creditors. One condition is the purchaser must remove the ship from the wharf within a set period of time.

It's expected any sale price will cover only a tiny fraction of the costs incurred.

Tenacity I

Dodds is also listed as the owner of Tenacity I, a 32-metre trawler that court documents say arrived at the wharf in Riverport at the mouth of the LaHave River in March 2015.

According to a statement of claim, unpaid berthing fees reached more than $30,000 by last fall. Dodds has yet to file a defence in the case.

Kings Endeavour

According to the vessel registration query system operated by Transport Canada, Dodds also owns the Kings Endeavour through a numbered company. It's a 16-metre fishing vessel, currently in Falls Point near Woods Harbour.

The Kings Endeavour is docked at Falls Point, where the harbour authority says the boat is trespassing. (Submitted)

The harbour authority said Dodds did not ask for permission to tie up at the wharf. It says the boat is trespassing and has asked him to remove it.

While the Canadian Coast Guard has suggested Dodds move the vessel because of lobster holding tanks in the harbour, spokesman David Jennings said it has not issued a written order.

He said Dodds told the coast guard he has a crew doing repairs to the vessel.

Hannah Atlantic and Ryan Atlantic II

According to the vessel registry, Dodds is also listed as the owner of two sister ships — the Hannah Atlantic and Ryan Atlantic II — which are tied up in Bridgewater.

But Dodds has told CBC News he sold them in 2010.

The Ryan Atlantic II, also known as the Cape Rouge, was featured prominently in the television show Haven before it sank at the wharf in March 2014.

The Ryan Atlantic II, also known as the Cape Rouge, is berthed in Bridgewater. It was featured prominently in the television show Haven before it sank at the wharf in March 2014. (CBC)

According to a claim filed with the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund, the cost of refloating the ship and containing and removing oil and fuel was just over $360,000.

The fund's annual report said crews also removed 18,000 litres of oily bilge water, 5,400 litres of diesel oil and various containers of waste oil from the Hannah Atlantic. That work cost an additional $20,000.

Hawk 1

In Sheet Harbour, a Dodds-owned freighter called the Hawk 1 sat at the East River wharf for two years. Brian Smith, a shareholder of the wharf, said he repeatedly tried to get Dodds to pay berthing fees.

After the ship drifted out to sea, it was towed back and Smith's company seized it. A scrap metal dealer from New Brunswick cut it up and sold the pieces.

About the Author

Bob Murphy


Bob Murphy is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a CBC News reporter in the Maritime provinces for more than two decades. He has investigated everything from workplace deaths to unsolved crimes and government scandals.