Sections

Farewell Farley: Federal government will remove derelict vessel, former Sea Shepherd flagship


Published on June 15, 2017

Mayor Karen Mattatall, MP Bernadette Jordan, Anne Miller Canadian Coast Guard and Keith Laidlaw Canadian Coast Guard pose on the government wharf on June 15 where the Farley Mowat currently is berthed.

©Amy Woolvett

The Farley Mowat is leaving.

Bernadette Jordan, MP for South Shore/St. Margaret’s announced to a delighted crowd on June 15 that the government has ordered the removal of the derelict vessel.

The MV Farley Mowat has been a thorn in the side of Shelburne since it was abandoned here in the fall of 2014, with its hulking mass destroying the view of the coastline and polluting the waters – not to mention no berthage fees being paid.

The town of Shelburne has taken the ship’s owner to court over the matter, but rather than comply with court orders to remove the vessel, owner Tracey Dodd ignored the orders and was arrested and jailed for contempt of court.

The Canadian Coast Guard has since stepped in and, under powers granted to it by the Canada Shipping Act 2001, gave Dodd until June 12 to develop a plan to address the threat of pollution the vessel poses while at dock in Shelburne.

The derelict Farley Mowat left abandoned in Shelburne's Harbour in 2014 stayed there all of 2016, although it's owner was arrested for contempt of court by not fulfilling a court order to have it removed.
Tina Comeau

With the deadline passed and no plan from the owner, the Coast Guard will proceed to remove the Farley Mowat by issuing a contract for the removal and disposal of the vessel.

“As a coastal community, our shoreline and the water are a part of who we are,” said MP Jordan.  “Abandoned and derelict vessels have no place on our shores, harbours or wharves and the threat of pollution that they cause affects us all.

“It is a very welcome relief for the people of Shelburne for the Canadian Coast Guard to remove the MV Farley Mowat from the harbour – we commend them for taking action to protect our community and I will continue to advocate for further action to deal with this problem affecting our coastlines.”

The Farley Mowat wasn't always the derelict eyesore it is now. It was once the flagship vessel for the Sea Shepherd activist group.

The Farley Mowat as it was starting to sink at the Shelburne Wharf in 2015
Greg Bennett

Jordan has been pushing sometime to stop the abandonment of vessels, dating back to the election campaign trail and then with the introduction of her M-40 bill in the House of Commons.

A photo of the Farley Mowat hangs in her office in Ottawa as a constant reminder of this issue.

“Now I will have one of the Farley Mowat being towed away,” she said of the next photo she hopes to add.

While the M-40 bill is to prevent further vessels like the Farley Mowat from being abandoned illegally, it was actually an environmental concern that is being touted as the reason for the removal of the vessel at this stage.

Back in 2015 when the Farley Mowat sank at the Shelburne Wharf. It was refloated but the owner never removed it.

“The bill brought the issue to the forefront, making it a stronger issue in Ottawa,” said Anne Miller, regional director of Incident Management. “But (the vessel) was open to the elements and stability became an issue.”

She said that the vessel would be removed in short order and without delay.

Miller said in Canada the policy regarding threats of pollution is that the polluter pays.
 
“It’s ultimately the owner’s responsibility,” she said. Should an owner fail to act, the federal government takes over the response and bills the owner. In the case when an owner fails to pay for the work done on their behalf the government will submit a claim to the Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund for compensation.

 

Meanwhile Jordan is among many who will be happy to see the vessel go.

“It’s really important to the coastal communities,” she said.  “We can’t allow people to abandon their vessels.”

 

Quick Facts

Not only has the ship sank at the wharf in Shelburne since being abandoned, it also caught fire.
Amy Woolvett

  • The MV Farley Mowat is an all-steel vessel built in Norway in 1956. The vessel now sits at dock in Shelburne, NS where it is at risk of sinking and poses an imminent pollution threat to the environment.
  • On June 24, 2015, the vessel sank while alongside the Shelburne wharf. The vessel was subsequently refloated by contractors hired by the Canadian Coast Guard.
  • In May 2017, the Coast Guard contracted a marine surveyor to collect information on the MV Farley Mowat's current condition, including its structural condition; watertight integrity; the quantity and location of any pollutants; and how the vessel would hold-up to towage.
  • The survey found oil-contaminated water in most of the tanks and determined that based on the vessel's current condition, it is at risk of polluting if left unattended.
  • Under powers granted to the Coast Guard under Section 180 of the Canada Shipping Act 2001, the owner was directed to remove the pollutants and safely dispose of the vessel. The owner has not responded to the direction order to address the instability and poor condition of the vessel, which poses an imminent threat to the marine environment. The Canadian Coast Guard has full authority to issue an emergency contract to prepare and tow the MV Farley Mowat to a disposal yard to protect the marine environment. Coast Guard will use their own contracting authorities to secure the services of an appropriate disposal contractor

(SOURCE: Canadian Coast Guard.)

Other stories from the Shelburne Farley Mowat saga: