Viki Lyne II (2012)

LOCATION: Ladysmith, British Columbia

Case number: 120-619-C1

The Incident
On June 21, 2012, the CCG informed the Administrator that an old steel-hulled fishing vessel, Viki Lyne II, was abandoned in Ladysmith Harbour, British Columbia, and was likely to discharge a pollutant. The CCG conducted an initial assessment and found the vessel in a deteriorated condition with substantial amounts of oil aboard. In consequence, the CCG contracted McAllister Marine Survey & Design Ltd. to have a technical surveyor examine the vessel and offer an opinion as to whether an imminent threat of pollution exists.

On August 31, 2012, McAllister Marine Survey and Design Ltd. presented its technical survey report. The surveyor concluded that due to the overall condition of Viki Lyne II, it posed a signicant, imminent and ever-increasing threat to the environment. The report recommended that the only certain way of removing the oils aboard contained in piping and machinery was to disassemble and scrap the vessel as soon as possible. The Coast Guard later advised that it was working with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to develop contract specification for the process of tendering. On July 9, 2013, counsel for the Administrator was informed by Coast Guard that an environmental response employee had attended the vessel in late June, and there was no evidence that the owner had removed any oil, or other pollutants. Therefore, the Coast Guard was assessing available options and would welcome an opportunity to discuss with the Administrator the reasonableness of each option.

On July 30, 2013, counsel replied and reminded Coast Guard of the earlier opinion of the independent technical surveyor appointed by the Administrator – notably, that the removal of the pollutants could be done at a lesser cost than deconstruction of the vessel. The surveyor had also recommended that quotations be obtained for both alternatives. Counsel confirmed to Coast Guard that the Administrator cannot prejudge the measures taken prior to the submission of the claim.

On March 31, 2014, Coast Guard reported in its year-end claims status report that the vessel has been identified as a potential hazard and that preventive measures would soon be taken, following which a claim would be submitted to the SOPF.

On March 17, 2016, the Coast Guard informed the Administrator that a contractor was hired in 2014 to remove approximately 23,000 litres of oil and oily water from the vessel. Furthermore, Coast Guard advises that a survey completed in February 2016, indicated that there are approximately 18,000 litres of oil/oily pollutants remaining in the vessel. Coast Guard was now planning to remove the remaining oil and oily pollutants in early 2016.

On July 26, 2016, the Fund was advised by Coast Guard that they had published a Request for Proposals for the deconstruction of the vessel.

Measures taken by the Administator
When notified about the incident in 2012, the Administrator retained counsel and instructed him to engage a marine surveyor to represent the Fund and to arrange with CCG to have the surveyor attend the inspection of the vessel on behalf of the Fund. The technical surveyor engaged on behalf of the Fund confirmed that McAllister’s report accurately reflected the condition of the fishing vessel, and the amount of hydrocarbons on board. However, the surveyor from the Fund had offered an opinion that the removal and cleaning of hydrocarbons from the Viki Lyne II, rather than demolition would have been the least cost option to minimize the threat of hydrocarbon pollution. CCG was informed of this independent opinion.

In March of 2017, in anticipation to the upcoming claim, the Administrator engaged a locator service to trace the location of the registered owner and identify assets that may be available for recovery purposes.

The Claim
On June 15, 2017, the Administrator received a claim from the CCG on behalf of the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO/CCG) for costs and expenses in the amount of $1,267,926.71 made pursuant to the Marine Liability Act.

The Administrator determined that the claim was admissible under Part 7 of the Act. Since no spill had occurred, the five-year limitation applied.

Assessment and Offer
The investigation gave rise to requests to CCG for additional information. On October 30, 2017, the Administrator sent a letter to CCG requesting additional submissions on the issue of wreck removal in this file. On December 20, 2017, the Administrator sent CCG a draft letter of offer for additional comments and submissions. On January 9, 2018, the CCG requested an extension for providing comments, following which the comment period on this draft letter of offer was extended to March 16, 2018.

As of March 31, 2018, the final letter of offer was being finalized but had not been sent yet.

The file remains open.