Nova Scotia

Only woman on MV Miner demolition crew ready to work

The demolition of the MV Miner off Scatarie Island has opened up a unique opportunity for a young woman from Sydney.
Shari-Lynn Boutilier of Sydney, N.S., will be the only woman who gets to work on cutting up the MV Miner. (Nova Scotia Department of Environment)

The demolition of the MV Miner off Scatarie Island has opened up a unique opportunity for a young woman from Sydney — Shari-Lynn Boutilier will be the only female member of the crew tasked with cutting up what remains of the derelict vessel.

The 23-year-old said growing up she shied away from the toys other girls were playing with.

"Tonkas. No Barbies, just Tonkas," she said.

After high school, Boutilier said she thought she'd try a trade at community college. At the time she didn't know what metal fabrication and plating was, but it sounded interesting.

"I loved it, came out top in my class. I've just been trying to do anything around here ever since."

Even when the leg of her work pants catches fire from cutting a piece of steel with a propane torch she seems at ease with her tools.

She said there's not a lot of work in Cape Breton so she could hardly believe it when she landed the MV Miner job.

The former Great Lakes ship has been stranded — and slowly breaking up — off the coast of Cape Breton since breaking a tow line in September 2011.

"This is a crazy opportunity. My grandfather grew up on Scatarie, and I've always said I wanted to go back there, and this is my opportunity. So I'm pretty stoked," said Boutilier.

"Just getting down into things, getting dirty, cutting things up, fire everywhere, you know, it's cool.  I like it."

While Boutilier said she's a little apprehensive about what the accommodations will be like she said she's excited the crew will likely be spending some nights on the island where her family is from.

After the MV Miner job Boutilier said she hopes to work out west.

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