Nova Scotia

No oil pollution fund for MV Miner

A special pot of money for oil spills cannot be used to clear away the wreck of the MV Miner, the administrator of the fund says.
The MV Miner has been stuck off Cape Breton for nearly three months. (Nova Scotia Department of Environment)

A special pot of money for oil spills cannot be used to clear away the wreck of the MV Miner, the administrator of the fund says.

The damaged freighter has been stuck on Scatarie Island in Cape Breton since September. About 10,000 litres of marine diesel oil, lubricants and oily waste water had to be removed.

Cape Breton MP Mark Eyking wants to dip into the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund to help pay for the removal of the ship.

But that's not possible, said Alfred Popp, the administrator who oversees the fund.

"It's strictly confined to oil pollution, and that's spelled out in the act under which this fund is set up," he told CBC News. "I'm not aware it has any broader triggers. Maybe it should have, but it doesn't."

Popp said as far as he knows, the only way to authorize the use of the fund is to change the legislation to include the removal of shipwrecks.

The ship was supposed to be taken to Turkey to be scrapped. It was being towed when a line snapped on Sept. 20.

The Canadian Coast Guard paid to remove the fuel and waste water aboard the damaged ship.

Federal officials said there is no sign of contamination and that the ship isn't a hazard to navigation.

Eyking maintains the wreck is a danger to shipping lanes and a threat to lobster and scallop fisheries. He said he would continue to push Transport Canada to deal with it.

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