Pursepa (2015)

LOCATION: Campbell River, British Columbia

Case number: 120-707-C

The Incident
On March 2, 2015, the Pursepa, a 50-foot vessel built in 1928 as a fisheries patrol boat, but which in recent years had been converted to a live-aboard boat, was aground on Tyee Spit and discharging oil pollutants into the Campbell River Estuary. Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) personnel contacted the vessel owner and informed him of his responsibilities. The owner advised that he would take necessary measures to mitigate the threat of pollution by refloating his vessel at high tide. His attempts were unsuccessful due apparently to lack of funds.

On March 4, CCG took over the response. CCG personnel from Victoria were deployed to assess the situation and assumed the role of On-Scene Commander. It was determined necessary to remove the wreck in order to prevent further oil pollution. At the outset, personnel at the Campbell River Lifeboat Station surrounded the wreck with a containment boom in case of a release of hydrocarbons.

On March 16, a local contractor from Campbell River was engaged to salvage and dispose of the abandoned vessel.  Approximately 100 gallons of diesel fuel were removed from the vessel’s tanks. The engine, the fuel tanks and other contaminants were also removed.  During the lift process the stern of the vessel separated from the hull. After several failed attempts to remove the wreckage, it was decided to leave the shell of the vessel on the Tyee Spit.

The Claim
On February 28, 2017, the Administrator received a claim from CCG on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO/CCG) for costs and expenses in the amount of $24,504.93 made pursuant to the Marine Liability Act (the Act).

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

Assessment and Offer
Further to the investigation and assessment of the claim, an offer for the established amount of $24,473.92 plus interest was made to DFO/CCG by the Administrator as full and final settlement on March 31, 2017. The offer was accepted by DFO/CCG on April 24, 2017.

A payment of $26,007.70, including interest in the amount of $1,533.78, was made to DFO/CCG on or around May 12, 2017.

Recovery Action
On or about June 12, 2017, a demand letter was sent by the counsel for SOPF to the shipowner, to which the owner’s trustee in bankruptcy responded that the SOPF claim was likely to be barred.

After review of the information received from the owner’s trustee in bankruptcy, no other further recovery action was deemed to be reasonable by the counsel for SOPF.

The file was closed on August 1, 2017.