Nova Scotia

Vessel stranded on small island off Halifax staying put for now

The Canadian Coast Guard is trying to figure out what to do with a steel-hulled vessel that escaped its moorings last month in Halifax's Bedford Basin and drifted to the shores of a small island, where it sits today.

The Hydra Mariner snapped free of its mooring buoy in Wrights Cove on Jan. 16

The Hydra Mariner ran aground on Navy Island last month. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

The Canadian Coast Guard is trying to figure out what to do with a steel-hulled vessel that escaped its moorings last month in Halifax's Bedford Basin and drifted to the shores of a small island, where it sits today.

The Hydra Mariner snapped free of its mooring buoy in Wrights Cove, just adjacent to the Dartmouth Yacht Club, overnight on Jan. 16 and ran aground on nearby Navy Island.

Kyle Jarvis, a senior response officer with coast guard's environmental response program, said the priority since then has been to make sure it stays put and doesn't leak any pollutants.

"We're talking about engine oils, hydraulics, fuel or anything of that nature," Jarvis said.

He said the majority of the pollutants have been removed and the 33-metre vessel is secure. He said the coast guard has been in touch with the vessel's owner and has informed him that all costs to remove Hydra Mariner will be passed along to him.

The cost of removing the Hydra Mariner will be borne by the vessel's owner. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

"The way that it works within Canada is under the Marine Liability Act," Jarvis said. "It's a polluter-pays principle. So all costs are ultimately recovered by the owner.

"The owner has been co-operative.... He's spoken with us multiple times. However, he was unable to perform the response actions required."

Jarvis said the coast guard has been conducting regular checks on the vessel and hired an outside contractor to inspect the steel hull to make sure it can support itself as it sits limped over the shores of Navy Island.

Rob Ritcey of RMI Marine said it was his company that was hired to do the inspection. The hull is intact and the ship is high and dry, he said.

It is the second time RMI Marine has been contracted to deal with the vessel, he said. In February 2014, it snapped free of its moorings in Wrights Cove and drifted ashore. That time, RMI was hired to refloat the vessel.

Ritcey said it's not clear yet what will happen to it now.

Cleanup costs estimated at $100K

"It's either going to be a cleanout and a refloat, or it's going to be a cleanout and then straight to the scrapyard," he said.

He said he expects the coast guard will invite private bidders to submit a tender to do the work. If it's a recovery project, Ritcey said, that could cost the owner somewhere in the ballpark of $100,000.

"We're definitely interested at this point," he said.

The ship is more of an eyesore than an environmental threat right now, he said, but eventually it will start to fall apart.

"At some point in time, which would be years from now, the hull will completely let go. And there is some amount of pollutants in there that would, you know, get into the basin, into that cove," he said.

About the Author

Preston Mulligan has been a reporter in the Maritimes for more than 20 years. Along with his reporting gig, he also hosts CBC Radio's Sunday phone-in show, Maritime Connection.

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