[UPDATED: after conversation with Keith Laidlaw, 4:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 14]
[UPDATED: with notes and photos from Karla Kelly at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13]
Connors Diving Services had the Quoddy Runner on the surface of St. Mary's Bay before a defective airbag let it settle back to the bottom.
Divers were attempting today, Friday, Sept. 14, to recover an aquaculture feed barge that sank 500 m off Meteghan earlier this week.
Keith Laidlaw, senior response officer with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says Connors may attempt to raise the barge again tomorrow if the winds allow. The forecast is calling for 20 knot winds out of the south.
He said the vessel's vents are plugged and no pollution is visible leaving the boat.
Nell Halse, spokesperson for Cooke Aquaculture says the Quoddy Runner sank Tuesday, Sept. 11 on its way over to the Long Island salmon cages.
No one was injured when the 12.9 m feed barge went down in 8 m of water. A second Cooke vessel picked up the lone crewman from the feed vessel. He was taken to hospital but checked out okay.
Halse says it is company practice to always have at least two vessels working together. She says they notified the Coast Guard and Transport Canada and sent divers down immediately to plug the vents.
She says Cooke has 400 vessels on the water in the Atlantic provinces.
“Unfortunately things happen,” she said by phone. “Our guys are on the water all the time, everyday. Hopefully we can learn from this and use that information to improve our protocols so this doesn’t happen again.”
Laidlaw was in Meteghan Thursday with two other officers.
He told the Courier the vessel was carrying 1200 litres of fuel, 300 litres of hydraulic fluid and 12 tons of salmon feed.
Cooke sent divers down right away to plug the vents and Laidlaw says no pollution is reported to have left the vessel.
Laidlaw says the wind was blowing 25 knots Thursday and that was a factor in not raising the boat that day.
Laidlaw says the sunken barge would be a navigational hazard if left in the water. The work barge has been in position over the wreck to make sure other shipping stays clear.
Environment Canada has also been on the scene in Meteghan.