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SELKIRK, Man. — The MS Lord Selkirk II will finally be dismantled and removed from a slough along the Red River.
The rusting, abandoned ship has been resting along the riverbank in Selkirk for 25 years and Friday the government of Manitoba and City of Selkirk announced a joint partnership to remove the ship.
SaskSteel, a Saskatchewan company, submitted the winning bid to remove the ship and will start dismantling it in a month. It will take 12 weeks to dismantle it, with the steel going to a mill in Selkirk.
“We’ll start on the very top deck and deck by deck we clean out the boat,” said Ben Hoosier, with SaskSteel, “garbage, everything that not metal basically goes…and then we just start cutting it up and we have a great big crane and we just lift off the pieces and they haul them to the mill here in town .”
The province is paying $200,000 and the City of Selkirk $250,000 to remove the hulk.
The ship first sailed the Red River on June 7, 1969, carrying 130 passengers and 40 crew.
“It’s hosted the Queen, Prince,” said Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson, “it’s hosted so many dignitaries, it would go up to the lake to Hecla.”
It sailed for 17 years but due to a lack of customers made its final voyage in 1990.
Tests showed for years the ship was leaking dangerous toxins into the Red River, including lead and mercury.
Ed Marchuk lives near the bay and every time he goes out on his dock he can see and smell the broken ship.
“The diesel fuel has been coming out of there for years and years and in fact if you get a south wind you can’t even open the windows it smells so bad,” said Marchuk.
The ship was sold to a scrap metal company in New York in 2010 but last year the company filed for bankruptcy.
“They didn’t want anything to do with the ship anymore,” said Johannson, “and whatever we did they were fine with.”
Arsonists lit the ship on fire and it was deemed a complete loss in 2012.
A lifeboat and an anchor will be salvaged and put into the Marine Museum of Manitoba, which is about a block away from the MS Lord Selkirk II’s current resting place.
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