Baltic II (2014)

LOCATION:  Deep Bay, British Columbia

Case number: 120-647

On January 24, 2014, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) received a report from the harbour authority at Deep Bay, British Columbia, that an abandoned wooden fishing vessel was at risk of sinking and discharging oil at its mooring in the harbour. The harbour manager advised that the vessel was not equipped with any bilge pumping arrangement. Upon inspection, CCG personnel found the vessel in a very derelict state. The bilges contained fuel and lubricating oils, and containers of oil were discovered in the fish cargo hold and in the engine space. Sorbent material was used to remove the oil from the bilges. Also, the fuel tanks were drained.

On January 30, a letter was mailed to the registered owner to notify him of the situation and explain his responsibility with respect to preventing a potential oil pollution of the nearby ecological and sensitive aquaculture area. The owner was instructed to describe the specific measures he planned to take to prevent the discharge of oil from his moored vessel. No reply was received from the owner. Therefore, based on the condition of the vessel, the sensitivity of the surrounding area, and the lack of response by the owner, the CCG personnel decided to remove the Baltic II and transport it to a facility for disposal.

On February 7, Coast Guard hired a marine surveyor of the firm Blue Seas Yacht Surveys to inspect the Baltic II and appraise its value. The technical surveyor found that the vessel was unfit for any service. In its condition, with considerable wood contamination, it would require a major rebuild. The value, which took into account the scrap value, was estimated at $2,000.00. After receiving the surveyor’s report, CCG decided to have the vessel deconstructed and disposed of at an appropriate facility.

On March 13, 2015, the Administrator received a claim made pursuant to the Marine Liability Act (MLA) in the amount of $9,712.57 from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO/CCG) to cover the costs and expenses incurred in response to the incident. On March 13, 2015, the Administrator acknowledged receipt of the claim and commenced an investigation and assessment.

In light of the overall assessment and investigation of the circumstances surrounding the incident that occurred in a sensitive ecological area with a significant aquaculture industry, the Administrator found the full amount of $9,712.57 to be established. Therefore, on the basis of the findings on June 11, 2015, the Administrator made an offer of $9,712.57, plus interest, as full and final settlement pursuant to the MLA. DFO/CCG was informed the amount of interest will be calculated upon receipt of acceptance of the offer. Also, enclosed with the offer was a Release and Subrogation Agreement to be executed on behalf of the Coast Guard. The letter of offer noted that the Administrator will not proceed with a requisition for transfer of funds until the duly executed Release and Subrogation Agreement has been received.

On June 16, 2015, a letter of notification that the Canadian Coast Guard accepts the offer of compensation was received. The notification did not include the Release and Subrogation Agreement as required, because the Commissioner was considering options on how to proceed with respect to the issue of Release and Subrogation Agreement.

The Administrator requisitioned payment of the claim on July 28, 2016, in the amount of $10,449.72 including interest. In September of 2016, the Counsel for the Administrator sent a registered Demand Letter to the vessel owners for costs and expenses paid. The letter was not delivered to the owners. The Administrator having fully considered the likelihood of successful recourse action closed the file on March 31, 2017.