LOCATION:  Wharf in Cobb’s Arm, Notre Dame Bay

Case number: 120-661

During the night of September 3, 2013, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) in St. John’s, Newfoundland, received a report from the RCMP that fishing vessel, Lakeview Venture, had caught fire at the wharf in Cobb’s Arm, Notre Dame Bay. The fire had been extinguished, but the 40-foot vessel was in danger of sinking and releasing diesel fuel and hydraulic oils. When contacted by telephone the next morning, the owner advised that he would continue to monitor the situation until CCG Emergency Response personnel arrived.

On September 4, two CCG personnel departed St. John’s and proceeded to the scene – a highway distance of approximately 450 kilometers – to monitor the owner’s measures to remove the 300 litres of diesel oil contained in the fuel tanks. The trailer that the Coast Guard towed to the location contained tools and equipment that would expedite the response should any special requirements arise. Upon arrival, the owner was on site, but lacked any effective response capability. He had, however, contacted his insurance representative who arranged for a vacuum truck the following day to remove the fuel and oily bilge water. In the meantime, CCG personnel assisted in stabilizing the vessel and prevented it from sinking. They pumped water from the engine room and deployed a sorbent boom to contain the oil sheen that resulted from the pumping operation. On September 5, the contracted vacuum truck arrived and pumped the fuel and oily water from the wreck. Once the pollution was removed, CCG employees inspected the vessel and terminated their direct operational and monitoring role. The personnel returned to St. John’s on September 6 and reported that there was no further risk of pollution.

On July 3, 2014, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO/CCG) filed a claim with the Administrator for the costs and expenses in the amount of $6,517.48, pursuant to the Marine Liability Act (MLA).

After investigation and assessment of the claim, the Administrator made a final offer to DFO/CCG for the established amount of $6,296.78, plus interest, as full and final settlement pursuant to the MLA. The offer was accepted. On November 13, 2014, the Administrator directed payment in the amount of $6,541.92, inclusive of interest.

On December 10, 2014, the Administrator wrote to the owner of the Lakeview Venture by registered mail, requesting payment of the compensation paid to the CCG with respect to the measures taken in response to the incident. Canada Post confirms that the registered letter was delivered to the vessel owner on December 30, 2014. The owner was informed about his responsibilities pursuant to the MLA. He was requested to respond within 30 days and advise what arrangements would be made to pay the sum of $6,541.92, failing which may result in legal actions. The owner was also informed that the Administrator is aware that his insurance company had sent him payment in full for his claim for the loss of the vessel, including the costs claimed by the Coast Guard. Follow-up enquiries were unsuccessful.

The recourse investigation ascertained that the owner did not have any financial assets and that his only income is a Canada disability pension. The owner advised that he could make a one-time payment of $1,000.00. After consideration, the Administrator concluded it would be unreasonable to incur additional expenditure for any further cost recovery action. Subsequently, on May 27, 2015, the Administrator received a cheque in the amount of $1,000.00 payable to the Receiver General for Canada. The cheque was forwarded to Expenditure Accounting and Control Department of Transport to be credited to the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund. Accordingly, on June 9, 2015, the Administrator closed the file.