Removing stranded vessel could cost $24 million

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Removing stranded vessel could cost $24 million

Post by Flyers » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:22 pm

N.S. has tug arrested, launches claim to recoup losses from grounded ship

The MV Miner ran aground off Scatarie Island, a provincially designated wilderness management area, on Sept. 20. It was on its way from Montreal to Turkey, where it was supposed to be scrapped. Repeated attempts to free the ship have failed, and the Canadian Coast Guard spotted additional damage to IF A bulk carrier, grounded just off Cape Breton, breaks up, the removal and cleanup costs could add up to $24 million, the province estimates.

The figure is in an affidavit attached to the warrant for the arrest of the tugboat Hellas. The tugboat was towing MV Miner, a 230-metre vessel that carried cargo in the Great Lakes, to Turkey where it was to be scrapped. But the tow line broke Sept. 20 and the Miner grounded on a shoal at Scatarie Island, off the northeastern tip of Cape Breton.

The province had the tug arrested Thursday as it launched a claim in federal court against the tug’s owners to recover the potential millions in removal and cleanup costs. Duff Montgomerie, the deputy minister of natural resources, said in the affidavit that Environment Department officials have told him the cost of dealing with the Miner while it’s intact is $400,000 to $600,000 but could skyrocket to $24 million if it breaks up. The estimate was based on talks with salvage experts and federal officials, said Environment Department spokeswoman Karen White.

High winds and waves beat up the Miner this week. The Canadian Coast Guard said Thursday that an inspection flight revealed "additional damage" to the hull and that it had moved closer to shore. Provincial environment and natural resources staff were on Scatarie Island on Friday. They saw a large hole in the vessel’s hull, White said. She said they saw shorebirds but no signs of pollution as they inspected the shore. The coast guard has said it has not seen any oil sheen at the site.

The 1,500-hectare island is one of the province’s protected wilderness areas. An Environment Department website says the island has a "remarkable variety" of uncommon plants and its rugged shore offers great coastal hiking and sea kayaking. It also says it had a long history as a fishing settlement, as well as an area were shipwrecks occur.

Local fishermen are worried the Miner could harm fishing grounds. It still holds 3,000 litres of oily waste water. Mammoet, a salvage company based in the Netherlands, has removed 6,000 litres of diesel and 3,000 litres of oily waste water. Federal court documents show the province wants $15 million, or whatever the cost would be, for removing, salvaging and cleaning up. If the owners don’t pay, the province wants the court to order the boat sold.

The tug is owned by Greek firm Pella Shipping Co., which also owns the Miner. The province’s statement of claim is against "the owners and all others interested in the ship Hellas." No defence has been filed yet.

White didn’t have the name of the Hellas’s lawyer but said the lawyer was on the tug when the sheriff served the warrant. Premier Darrell Dexter said Thursday that he wants to see the matter looked after quickly, even if it means figuring out later who pays. He said the province could take on the job if necessary. Several attempts to move the ship have failed. White said federal and provincial officials plan to be at the site again today.

Source thechronicleherald

Picture of Hellas from file, photographer U/K



Registered: IMO 7419690 (ABS 7501788) (HRS 12714) /(PAN)ON ON 5057-PEXT /(GRC)ON 9218, ON 237 /(VCT)ON 9598

480 GRT (606 GT, 181 NT),
L50,50m(44,99), B10,02m(10,00), Dr3,988m, Dp4,40m
1 fpp +nozzle,
2x diesel 4t 8cyl Fuji type 8M32CH4C, 2600bhp-1939,6kW, 5200bhp total,
sp 13,5kn, bp 75,1t

1975: Built by "Matsuura Tekko Zosen" at Hiroshima (JPN) (YN 245) (keel laid 01/01/1974)
1975 -01/02: delivered to "Asia Marine Corp" (JPN)(PAN flag)
1976: To "Amphitrite Shipping & Trading Corp SA", mng "John S. Latsis" at Piraeus (GRC), renamed PETROLA'S SEAMASTER 20(PAN flag, ON 5057-PEXT, c/s H3RG, 480 GRT, 74 NRT)
1987: mng "Maritime & Commercial Co Argonaftis SA" at Piraeus (GRC), renamed HELLAS(GRC flag, regd Piraeus, ON 9218, c/s SW3547)
199x: (606 GRT, 181 NRT)
2003: To "Hellas-AG Shipping Co", mng "Gigilinis Salvage & Towage" at Thessaloniki (GRC)(GRC flag, regd Thessaloniki, ON 237, c/s SW3547, 493,39GRT, 215,35 NRT)
2005: To "Interport Marine Inc", mng "Pella Shipping Co" at Thessaloniki (GRC) (VCT flag, regd Kingstown, ON 9598, c/s J8B3126, 606 GT)
2011: still in service

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