Coast Guard hopes to tow tanker that ran aground off Nova Scotia coast

Click to play video: '6 crew members rescued from run-aground tanker off Nova Scotia coast' 6 crew members rescued from run-aground tanker off Nova Scotia coast
Six crew members were rescued by helicopter from a tanker that ran aground off the coast of Nova Scotia Sunday – Jan 9, 2017

The Canadian Coast Guard says it will attempt early Tuesday to free a tanker that ran aground off Cape Breton.

READ MORE: 6 crew members rescued from run-aground tanker off Nova Scotia coast

The Arca 1 grounded just north of Sydney Mines on Sunday after losing engine power, and its six-member crew was rescued later that day.

Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who is also responsible for the coast guard, told a news conference at the Canadian Coast Guard College in Sydney that crews will prepare the Mexican-owned tanker for a tow Monday evening.

They hope to free it at high tide on Tuesday at 6:30 a.m., although LeBlanc said Monday that decision will be made by officials on the ground.

LeBlanc said he and other officials assessed the small tanker from the air Monday, confirming that its hull had not been breached.

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“The good news appears to be is that for the moment, there is no risk to marine ecosystems. Obviously, that is why it is so urgent to safely and effectively remove this vessel from its present position,” said LeBlanc.

The Mexican company that owns the ship has been co-operative, he said, adding that it will be responsible for the costs of removing the tanker.

Both the Transportation Safety Board and Transport Canada are investigating, and those probes will be made public.

“I think it’s important for Canadians to understand … exactly how this could have happened, what steps can be taken in the future to avoid exactly this kind of circumstance or potentially one that may have had much more disastrous consequences,” LeBlanc said.

He said booms and other “appropriate preventive measures” are in place around the vessel to protect against environmental damage. The Arca 1 is carrying 15 tonnes of fuel for its engines.

A tow “is the best and safest way to ensure that the vessel is removed with no consequences to the marine environment, and consequence for the women and men who earn their living from the fishery,” he said.

The Montreal-based tanker was en route to Mexico carrying no cargo when it experienced mechanical difficulties. It was headed to Sydney to address those issues when it ran aground.

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“If there was in fact malfeasance … those responsible will be held to account,” said LeBlanc.

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