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Examining the Baffin Sound

After receiving reports of an oil sheen in St. Anthony Harbour, Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response officers were called in to inspect the vessel.
After receiving reports of an oil sheen in St. Anthony Harbour, Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response officers were called in to inspect the vessel.

This story originally published July 6, 2015

St. Anthony Port Authority is continuing to push forward with its quest to have the Baffin Sound removed from its wharf.

For the past number of years the 80-foot vessel has been tied to the wharf on St. Anthony’s Eastside, engine parts are scattered next to the vessel, and it’s been impeding what the Authority is calling potential business opportunities.
The non-profit group recently sent out letters to its MHA, MP and Transport Canada requesting help with this matter.

Oil sheen
At the same time, Authority chair, and St. Anthony Mayor, Ernest Simms said there were reports of an oil sheen in the harbour, and it was believed to have been coming from the Baffin Sound.

“It’s not in good shape, parts of the engine are on the wharf, other parts have been taking out of the vessel, we didn’t know if it was coming from there or not,” he said. “But just to be sure we called the (Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response office) to have it checked out immediately,” said Simms.

Environmental officers were in St. Anthony on June 24 to assess reports of pollutants.

The owner was issued a notice and direction under Section 180 “Response Measures” of the Canada Shipping Act.

As of deadline, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans media department stated that the owner was scheduled to be on-site on Thursday and Friday, along with Coast Guard Environment Response officers, to begin the removal process of some minor pollutants aboard the FV Baffin Sound.”

The release states that, “Coast Guard is collaborating with the local Port Authority and Harbour Authority, and is not aware of a release of oil from the FV Baffin Sound at the present time.”

Transport Canada

Along with that, Simms says there have been discussions with Transport Canada.

“Once it’s described as a derelict vessel, Transport Canada becomes involved,” said Simms.

While Transport Canada’s didn’t provide specific detail on its position surrounding the Baffin Sound, it was noted, in a emailed statement, vessel owners need to keep their boats in good condition and responsibly recycle or dispose of any boat that has come to its end of its life cycle.

It was also stated that a new web page (www.tc.gc.ca/abandonedboats) outlines boat owner responsibilities, impacts of abandoned boats, responsible end-of-life management information was launched on May 15, 2015.

Headway?

Simms is reluctant to say that the Authority is making some headway after years of trying to have the vessel moved.

“We are talking to people,” he said.

And because there’s so much “grey area” in these matters, Simms is hopeful this battle can bring about change.

“I’m hoping that it will get to the right people, who can put some teeth into the regulations that they have,” he said. “So that in the future, if there’s a vessel that has been abandoned at a wharf in a community there’ll be something in place to say that’s not allowed.

“But federal government is responsible for making that happen.”

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