Porcher G (2014)

LOCATION: Wharf in Campbell River, British Columbia

Case number: 120-644

On January 13, 2014, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) informed the Administrator that the 45-foot wooden hull ex-fishing vessel Porcher G sank at the wharf in Campbell River, British Columbia and was discharging oil. Personnel from the Campbell River lifeboat station attended and streamed a containment boom around the sunken vessel. The owner of the vessel was located and informed of his responsibilities and liabilities with respect to taking necessary measures to minimize and prevent further pollution damage. The vessel owner responded that he did not have the means to stop the discharge of oil or recover the wreck. Therefore, the CCG Environmental Response personnel took over management of the response, and arranged for local contractors to raise the sunken vessel.

On January 14, the vessel was raised and placed on board a barge, which was towed to the Duncan Bay barge terminal just north of Campbell River. Coast Guard hired a local marine surveyor from the firm of Strathcona Marine Surveyors to inspect the Porcher G and appraise its value. The technical surveyor advised that the vessel had no real value and was realistically irreparable. The only possible value seen was in some scrap metal.

On January 15, Coast Guard decided to deconstruct the vessel in order to remove the oil and prevent further pollution. A local excavating contractor, A. Wood Bulldozing Ltd., was engaged to deconstruct the wreck. All oils were drained from the engine. The recyclable metals were segregated from oil-contaminated wood waste, which was disposed of at an appropriate facility.

On March 6, 2015, the Administrator received a claim made pursuant to the Marine Liability Act (MLA) in the amount of $30,585.25 from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO/CCG) to cover the costs and expenses incurred in response to the occurrence. On March 10, the Administrator acknowledged receipt of the claim and commenced an investigation and assessment.

Upon completion of an investigation and assessment of the claim, the Administrator found the full amount of the costs and expenses incurred in response to the incident to be established. Therefore, on the basis of his findings on May 6, 2015, the Administrator made an offer of $30,585.25, plus interest, as full and final settlement pursuant to the MLA. The DFO/CCG was informed that the amount of interest will be calculated upon receipt of acceptance of the offer. Enclosed with the offer was a Release and Subrogation Agreement to be executed on behalf of the Coast Guard. The letter of offer also noted that the Administrator will not proceed with a requisition for the transfer of funds until the duly executed Release and Subrogation Agreement is received.

On June 16, 2015, a letter of notification was received that the CCG accepts the offer of compensation. However, the notification did not include the executed Release and Subrogation Agreement as required. The Administrator was informed that the Commissioner of the CCG was considering options on how to proceed with respect to the outstanding issue of Release and Subrogation Agreement.

In July of 2016, the Administrator authorized payment of the claim in the amount of $32,828.07 including interest to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Administrator engaged a professional locator service to conduct an asset search of the vessel owner. It was determined that there were no exigible assets, the Administrator concluded that all reasonable measures to recover the amount of the payment had been taken and closed the file.