LOCATION: Rivière des Prairies Rapides du Cheval Blanc

Case number: 120-675

This occurrence began as a Search and Rescue response and transformed into an Environmental Response incident. During the afternoon of August 17, 2013, the Coast Guard received a report that the 27-foot pleasure craft Bayliner was aground in the “Rivière des Prairies Rapides du Cheval Blanc” in the vicinity of Montreal. The owner and two children were on board the pleasure craft. The Marine Rescue Centre in Quebec arranged for the local fire department to rescue the pleasure boaters.

On August 21, 2013, Coast Guard was notified that the boat owner was still unable to recover his stranded pleasure boat with his attempted towing arrangements, because it was aground in a very rocky part of the rapids with a strong river current. All attempts to convince other boaters to assist were also unsuccessful. The Coast Guard was informed that the stranded Bayliner had 250 litres of fuel oil on board, as well as 10 litres of motor oil. This, therefore, meant that there was an oil pollution threat requiring immediate response action. First of all, Coast Guard tried to engage Urgence Marine Inc. in the Port of Montreal to take the necessary measures to pump out the Bayliner and remove it from the rapids. However, the clean-up and waste removal company decided it was unable to respond because of the location of the incident.

Consequently, on August 23, Coast Guard arranged for its 28.5 metre hovercraft, Mamilossa, to proceed from its base at Trois-Rivières to the Montreal area. The next day, with a police boat in attendance to establish a keep-clear zone, the hovercraft went alongside the Bayliner. It was pumped out and refloated without an oil spill. The hovercraft then towed the pleasure craft clear of the rapids. It was removed from the water and placed ashore on August 23. The use of the hovercraft as an environmental response was a somewhat unique operation. The fact that the hovercraft and its crew of eight transited from Trois-Rivières to Rivière des Prairies, made it necessary for overnight hotel accommodations. The craft used 4829 litres of fuel during the tasking.

On June 16, 2015, some 22 months later – the Administrator received a claim from the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) made pursuant to the Marine Liability Act (MLA). The claim totalled $14,286.40. The Administrator acknowledged receipt of the claim on the day it was received.

After investigation and assessment of the filed documentation, the Administrator concluded, on the basis of his findings, that the full amount was established. Therefore, on August 27, 2015, an offer was made to DFO/CCG for the amount of $14,286.40, plus interest, as full and final settlement. The offer was made conditional upon execution of an attached Release and Subrogation Agreement.

On October 16, 2015, the Administrator received a letter of acceptance of the final offer, but it did not include the Release and Subrogation Agreement duly executed as requested. The CCG advised that with respect to the Release and Subrogation Agreement, the Commissioner is considering options on how to proceed. Upon receipt of the letter of acceptance, the Administrator advised the CCG that he will not proceed with the requisitioning of payment of this claim until he is in receipt of a duly executed Release and Subrogation Agreement.

In July of 2016, the Administrator paid the Department of Fisheries and Oceans $15,585.20 including interest in settlement of their claim. Recourse action was commenced against the shipowner, pursuant to the Marine Liability Act. He subsequently declared bankruptcy and the Administrator filed a proof of claim with his trustee in bankruptcy. The recovery action continues and the file remains open.