Nova Scotia

Farewell, Farley: Shelburne celebrates removal of MV Farley Mowat

A derelict vessel that was abandoned at Shelburne wharf three years ago has finally been towed away — and the town is so happy to say "Good riddance" they had a party complete with song and cake.

Rusting, derelict vessel has been docked at town's wharf since 2014

The MV Farley Mowat, a former anti-sealing vessel once owned by the controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was finally towed away shortly before 11 a.m. on Wednesday. (Robert Short/CBC)

A derelict vessel that was abandoned at a Nova Scotia wharf three years ago has finally been towed away — and the Town of Shelburne is so happy to say "Good riddance" they had a party complete with song and cake.

"It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood. We're thrilled," Mayor Karen Mattatall said. "We have a beautiful farewell cake."

The MV Farley Mowat was towed away by a tugboat shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday after a delay due to rough weather offshore.

The former anti-sealing vessel once owned by the controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had been rusting at the town's wharf since September 2014.

Wolfville scrap dealer Tracy Dodds bought the ship to break it up for scrap, but he has said the falling price of steel made that impossible. 

Tracy Dodds served 20 days in jail last year for contempt of court. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

$200K in costs

Dodds missed multiple court-ordered deadlines to remove the ship and in August 2016 he served 20 days in jail for contempt of court.

The ship has cost the town at least $150,000 in lost wharfage fees and payments to contractors to pump water so the vessel wouldn't sink, the mayor has said.

In 2015, the ship sank in its berth, forcing the coast guard to mount a $500,000 cleanup effort. (Robert Short/CBC)

In 2015, the ship sank in its berth, forcing the coast guard to mount a $500,000 cleanup effort, with more than 2,000 litres of pollutants eventually removed from the hull.

Mattatall said the town hopes to get its costs reimbursed by the federal government.

'Farewell Farley, so long'

About 100 people lined the wharf Wednesday, eating cake, drinking coffee and listening to music, to mark the departure of the eyesore from the Marine Terminal. A song written for the occasion went, "Farewell Farley, so long/You've been in Shelburne so long," the mayor said.

The MV Farley Mowat is being moved to Liverpool where it will be dismantled. (Robert Short/CBC)

"It has been very long, long time in coming, but we're very excited to see it happen," she said. "And there's a good number of people who have come out to join us to bid the Farley Mowat farewell and good riddance."

'It's finally over'

Ted Cox, who lives in the area, said the ship's removal was a long time coming. In terms of excitement, it "rates right up there" with the recent visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the area.

"We knew we probably were in for a long haul, and it was a long haul and finally it's over."

The ship is being towed on a 10-hour journey to Liverpool, N.S., to be cut up.

The Farley Mowat floats in Shelburne Harbour in December 2015. (CBC)

Keith Laidlaw, senior response officer for the Canadian Coast Guard, said 30 people were on site Wednesday morning to help with the towing.

He said while the coast guard was escorting the ship, the actual towing was being done by Atlantic Towing. Once the Farley Mowat arrives in Liverpool, Laidlaw said it will be tied up at the dock and hopefully dragged out of the water on Thursday.

He said the coast guard's responsibility for the ship ends "when it no longer looks like a ship and is a pile of scrap."

Mattatall said she hopes new federal legislation aimed at making it easier for municipalities to get rid of abandoned vessels will help if this happens to another community.

"We're certainly hoping those things together will give pause to anybody to ever think about bringing a derelict vessel in somebody's harbour again and leaving it for the taxpayers to have to deal with."

Corrections

  • A previous version of this article said the MV Farley Mowat had been in Shelburne's harbour since 2013. In fact, the ship had been there since September 2014.
    Jul 27, 2017 1:29 PM AT

With files from The Canadian Press

now