After days of bad weather and poor sea conditions, the derelict hulk of a hazardous vessel has been towed away from the dock in Nova Scotia where it has been rotting since 2000.
Dozens of people gathered in parks and parking lots on the shores of the LaHave River on Wednesday to watch the Cormorant leave its home in Bridgewater, N.S.
Many documented the former navy vessel’s farewell with cameras and cell phones. It wasn’t a fond farewell despite the accompanying sound of bagpipes.
“It’s been there a long time,” said Susan Sampson, a resident of Bridgewater. “I always thought it was an ugly old boat, but I’m sure it has lots of history, so a lot of people might not feel as bad as I do about it. But I’m pretty happy to see that it’s gone,”
Local politicians agreed.
“It adds no value,” said Coun. Wayne Thorburne of Bridgewater, adding that things might have been better had it been finished up and driven away as originally planned. “But that didn’t happen.”
It’s been a little more than a year since the wreck of the Cormorant was declared an environmental risk by the Canadian Coast Guard.
Work was carried out in December 2019 to remove 19,000 litres of oily bilge water and secure the derelict vessel from listing further into the LaHave River.
Wednesday was the culmination of those efforts.
“This one, particularly, is an imminent threat of pollution. said fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan.
Both the government and the Canadian Coast Guard were very concerned about the vessel, especially the impact it could have had on the ecosystem had anything from the Cormorant spilled into the river, Jordan said.
“We wanted to make sure we got rid of it.”
Jordan, the MP for South Shore-St. Margaret’s, has been instrumental in the efforts to clean-up derelict vessels.
She introduced a motion in Parliament in 2016 requesting action on removing derelict vessels abandoned in Canada’s coastal communities. Estimates provided by Jordan last year put the total number of vessels at about 600.
After the initial motion she brought forward, the Liberal government brought in Bill C-64, the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act.
It passed in 2019 and made it illegal to abandon boats in Canada. The goal was to reduce instances of vessels being abandoned in the future.
The federal government has recently awarded a $1.82-million contract to RJ MacIsaac Construction Ltd. of Antigonish, N.S., for the dismantling of the vessel.
It’s now bound for Sheet Harbour where it’ll be taken apart, piece by piece.
— With files from The Canadian Press