Chaulk Determination (CCG) (2014)

LOCATION: Wharf in the port of Trois-Rivières

Case number: 120-667

The incident occurred on December 26, 2014, when the tugboat Chaulk Determination sank at the wharf in the port of Trois-Rivières, Quebec, and began leaking fuel oil into the St. Lawrence River. The tug was holding 22 tonnes of fuel when it sank. Government agencies, including the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), Transport Canada, the provincial Ministry of the Environment, and the port authority responded to the incident. The priority was to conduct oil containment and vessel recovery operations.

On December 28, counsel based in Montreal advised the Administrator about the ongoing incident. On January 6, 2015, the CCG informed the Administrator that the tug owner – some numbered company operating out of Moncton, New Brunswick – had declared that they had no money and no insurance. The estimated cost of the initial clean-up was in the region of $200,000.00 and that raising the vessel may entail a further cost of over $1 million.

At this point, the Administrator instructed counsel to retain a technical advisor to monitor the developing situation, as well assist if, and when, a claim is submitted to the Fund by the CCG. Consequently, counsel engaged a technical marine surveyor to keep in touch with the government authorities and report back, from time to time, on the reasonableness of the measures being proposed to salvage the sunken tug. Throughout the salvage operations, the surveyor provided a series of updates including photographs capturing the work performed by the salvage master and the various contractors involved in the efforts to refloat the Chaulk Determination.

The Administrator was informed that the fuel was removed from the tanks and that the Chaulk Determination was refloated on February 19, 2015. When the tug was raised, the hull and interior were cleaned. Also the engine room was partially cleaned. The wreck was secured alongside the wharf in Trois-Rivières.

In April of 2015, the Port of Trois-Rivières took action to deal with the ongoing pollution threat posed by this vessel. Details of their actions are found in section 2.35 of this report. On August 25, 2015, it was confirmed to the port authority that the vessel had been deconstructed and disposed of at the facilities of Verrault Navigation.

On December 09, 2016, the Coast Guard filed a claim with the Administrator in the amount of $4,585,963.68. The claim was acknowledged and the Administrator commenced investigation and assessment of the claim. The file remains open.