Schwalbe (2015)

LOCATION: Lunenburg Harbour, Nova Scotia

Case number: 120-670

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) informed the Administrator that on February 1, 2015, a 60-foot sailboat, Schwalbe, had broken its moorings and drifted ashore on the south side of Lunenburg Harbour, Nova Scotia. The CCG Environmental Response personnel learned from local residents that the sailboat had been anchored in the harbour for several years and was thought to be abandoned. The boat owner was finally contacted and advised about his responsibilities to respond to the incident. He was requested to provide CCG with a response plan by noon on February 3. The owner replied that he had no insurance and no money, so he was unable to deal with the situation. He did, however, inform CCG that there were 20 litres of diesel fuel in the day tank, and additional oil in several containers on board and oil in the engine area. On February 4, CCG personnel boarded the vessel which was aground with a 45 degree list. No oil sheen was detected in the water around the hull or in the rockweed surrounding the area. When the weather conditions were more suitable, several days later, CCG personnel removed the accessible oil from the wreck. The boat remains aground where it initially drifted ashore.

On April 16, 2015, the Coast Guard filed a claim with the Administrator for costs and expenses incurred in the amount of $5,737.64, pursuant to the Marine Liability Act (MLA).

As a result of the investigation of the incident, it was considered that the response actions taken by Coast Guard under the circumstances were necessary and reasonable to prevent and minimize oil pollution within the harbour environment. The claim was well documented and easy to assess. It was submitted promptly. After assessment of the claimed expenditures, the Administrator found the amount of $5,294.62 to be established. Therefore, on the basis of the findings on June 24, 2015, an offer was made to Coast Guard for the amount of $5,294.62, plus interest, as full and final settlement pursuant to the MLA. The standard Release and Subrogation Agreement was enclosed with the letter of offer. The letter of offer noted that the Administrator will not proceed with requisitioning the transfer of funds until he receives the duly executed Release and Subrogation Agreement.

On July 9, 2015, a letter of acceptance was received, but it did not include the requested executed Release and Subrogation Agreement. Coast Guard advised that the Commissioner is considering options on how to proceed with respect to the Release and Subrogation Agreement.

On July 27, 2016, the Administrator directed payment of $5,533.71(established amount plus interest) to the DFO/CCG.

The Administrator concluded that all reasonable measures to recover the amount of the payment from the owner of the vessel who was no longer residing in Canada had been taken. The file was closed on November 29, 2016.