October 12, 2018 5:21 pm

Abandoned ship ‘Kathryn Spirit’ removed from Beauharnois shore

For 11 years, the Kathryn Spirit loomed over the waterfront in Beauharnois, a rusting, abandoned cargo ship that to the town's dismay became one of its most identifiable features. On Friday, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that after a number of false starts, the ship has finally been dismantled and hauled away.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press
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The seven-year saga involving a rusting cargo ship abandoned on the edge of Lac Saint-Louis in Beauharnois is finally over.

“Beauharnois will once again have a magnificent view of the St. Lawrence,” Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said at an announcement on Friday.

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READ MORE: Quebec town hopeful dismantling of rusting cargo ship will go smoothly after fire

The crumbling Kathryn Spirit, which has sat idle in the St. Lawrence River since 2011, has now been completely dismantled by crews.

“Our assessment is that we’ve done things responsibly with respect to the environment,” Garneau said.

Groupe St-Pierre bought the Kathryn Spirit in 2011 in hopes of stripping it for scrap, but those plans were met with opposition by the province and local residents.

A Mexican company then bought the ship and planned to bring it back to Mexico, but the plan never came to fruition. The tugboat hired to tow the Kathryn Spirit was impounded and the company eventually went bankrupt.

READ MORE: Abandoned Kathryn Spirit ship must be stabilized before winter: experts

In 2017, the Canadian government announced an $11-million project between the Groupe St-Pierre and Englobe Corp. would oversee the dismantling of the crumbling ship.

While the boat is no longer there, Garneau said crews still have to get rid of the embankment and access road that were built in order to get to the ship. He said the work should be completed by December at the latest.

Beauharnois Mayor Burno Tremblay said he is relieved to see the Kathryn Spirit go, but said it took a “long game of ping-pong” between the province and the federal government to get to this point.

Garneau also said new legislation will be used in order to prevent other instances similar to the Kathryn Spirit. It will prevent companies from abandoning ships and hold them responsible for removal costs.

“It’s an eyesore,” Garneau said.

“It’s a thing Canadians don’t want to see.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

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