Nova Scotia

Farley Mowat ship owner ordered to pay $144K to Town of Shelburne

A Federal Court judge has ordered the owner of the derelict ship Farley Mowat to pay the Town of Shelburne about $144,000 involved in the town's battle to get rid of the former anti-sealing vessel.

Vessel had a colourful history where it sank and later caught fire while berthed in the local harbour

The MV Farley Mowat, a former anti-sealing vessel once owned by the controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was towed away from Shelburne Marine Terminal in July 2017. (Robert Short/CBC)

A Federal Court judge has ordered the owner of the derelict ship Farley Mowat to pay the Town of Shelburne about $144,000 after the ship languished in the town's harbour for about three years.

The judgment against Tracy Dodds, awarded by Justice Elizabeth Heneghan, is one of the last fights in the town's battle to rid itself of the former anti-sealing vessel that was tied up at the Shelburne Marine Terminal beginning Sept. 9, 2014.

The ship was once owned by the controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The derelict vessel, the Farley Mowat, is shown in Shelburne in December 2015. (CBC)

At various times during the period between when the ship arrived and when it was towed away in July 2017 to be salvaged for scrap, it sank, caught fire and its owner was jailed for contempt of court for missing multiple court deadlines to remove the ship.

Numerous court actions

Shelburne went to court numerous times over the matter. The last legal action was to ask for a judgment for outstanding berthage fees, as well as all costs and expenses that were incurred as the result of the sinking of the Farley Mowat at the Shelburne Marine Terminal on June 25, 2015.

Farley Mowat owner Tracy Dodds missed multiple court-ordered deadlines to remove the ship and in August 2016, he served 20 days in jail for contempt of court. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

Dodds fired back with a counterclaim in which he said the sinking of the ship was the fault of the town because it arrested the vessel for outstanding berthage charges and he could not board it in order to do service and maintenance.

He tried to sue Shelburne for $60,000. Heneghan dismissed the claim.

Dodds a no-show at hearing

The town was seeking punitive damages for the length of time, numerous orders and court appearances that were involved in getting rid of the vessel, but the judge refused to grant the request.

Dodds did not show up for the hearing into the motion for the award for costs and did not file any response, Heneghan noted.

In a statement Monday, Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall said the town is currently examining next steps.

"The Town of Shelburne welcomes the court's decision in this matter, which will help bring our community's difficult experience with the MV Farley Mowatt to a close," she said. "The town is currently examining our options, relative to the Court's decision to award for unpaid debts and legal costs."