Mystery Spill, Port of Quebec (2016) (formerly the Anastasia)

LOCATION: Port of Quebec, Quebec

Case number: 120-720-C1

The Incident
On November 24, 2016, a Quebec Port Authority’s (QPA) patroller noticed an iridescence on the water by wharf 52. Although there was no vessel at the wharf at the time, it was believed that the oil came from the Marshall Islands registered bulk carrier Anastasia (50,697 GRT), which had departed that location a few hours earlier. The pollution corresponded specifically to the wharf where the Anastasia had been berthed and inspection of the other wharfs showed no other source of contamination. The inspection found bunker oil around wharf 52, the associated fenders and some product in the river.

Both the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and Transport Canada (TC) were advised of the incident. Transport Canada sent inspectors but they did not take any oil samples as the bulk carrier had already left the scene. The QPA hired a contractor for recovery and cleanup work. The contractor installed booms to prevent the spread of the bunker oil and cleanup progressed until high tide made it impossible to continue. The next morning, the wharf fenders were lifted, cleaned and then reinstalled.

At one point there was no longer any discernible oil left in the river or on the fenders, so the QPA concluded that the pollution threat to new vessels arriving at wharf 52 was low. They allowed the next vessel to berth, and would continue cleaning the next day, after its departure.

On November 26, 2016, cleaning continued and on November 27, the wharf was considered acceptably clean and the incident closed.

The Claim
On June 16, 2017, the QPA filed a claim with the Fund for costs and expenses incurred in the amount of $12,298.09, pursuant to section 101 of the Marine Liability Act.

The Administrator determined that the claim was admissible under Part 7 of the Act.

Assessment and Offer
On June 28, the Administrator sent a letter to the QPA requesting specifications on the dock face. A response was received on June 29.

On September 14, 2017, after further investigation and assessment of the claim, the Administrator made an offer to QPA for the established amount of $12,298.09, plus interest, pursuant to section 105 of the Act. Interest was deemed to be in the amount of $304.66.

On September 15, 2017, the offer was accepted by the QPA.

On October 12, 2017, the Administrator directed payment of the amount of $12,298.09 (which includes interest in the amount of $304.66) to the QPA.

Recovery action
As the available evidence did not allow to conclude that the Anastasia was the source of the spill, this was deemed to be a mystery spill and no recovery action was possible.

The file was closed on December 12, 2017.