LOCATION: Ladysmith Harbour, British Columbia

Case number: 120-641

On September 19, 2013, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) received a report that an old fishing vessel Bromada sank in Ladysmith Harbour, British Columbia, and was discharging oil. CCG Environmental Response personnel from Victoria were deployed to assess the occurrence. Upon arrival, the abandoned derelict was found to be submerged all but for the mast and rigging. Oil was upwelling to the surface forming an oil sheen (likely a mixture of diesel fuel, lube oils, and hydraulic fluid).

Information gathered from residents of neighbouring vessels indicated that the alleged owner had not been seen for several months. Coast Guard was also informed that the ex-fishing vessel had changed ownership several times prior to ending up in Ladysmith’s “Dogpatch”. No documentary evidence of these transactions was available. (Locals have named the cluster of decrepit derelict vessels currently in Ladysmith Harbour the “Dogpatch”.) Coast Guard’s further research of the Transport Canada ship registration system determined that the 50-foot wooden hull vessel, built in 1926, was removed from the ship’s register years ago.

Coast Guard’s Regional Superintendent of Environmental Response decided to remove the vessel from its sunken position to prevent and minimize further pollution damage. Public Works and Government Services Canada was engaged to solicit bids from qualified contractors. Saltair Marine Services Limited was awarded the contract. On September 21, the wreck was raised; placed on board a barge and towed to the contractor’s facility.

Coast Guard hired an independent marine surveyor to inspect the Bromada and provide a monetary value assessment. The technical surveyor concluded that the vessel had no value, as the planking was loose and caulking had fallen out of the seams. The machinery also had no value because it had been submerged under sea water for sometime. Moreover, the cost of removing any other equipment would exceed its scrap value. As a consequence, CCG instructed Saltair Marine Services Ltd. to remove all the hydrocarbons then deconstruct and dispose of the Bromada.

On February 4, 2015, the Administrator received a claim from Coast Guard, on behalf of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO/CCG), for costs and expenses in the amount of $34,586.25, pursuant to the Marine Liability Act (MLA).

After an investigation and assessment of the claim, the Administrator found the amount of $32,386.25 to be established. He did not accept the $2,200.00 for additional insurance coverage charged by Saltair Marine Services Ltd. On April 9, 2015, the Administrator made a final offer to DFO/CCG for the established amount of $32,386.25, plus interest, as full and final settlement pursuant to the MLA. Coast Guard was informed that interest will be calculated upon receipt of acceptance of the offer. Enclosed with the offer was a Release and Subrogation Agreement.

On April 29, 2015, a letter of acceptance of the offer was received; however, it did not include the executed Release and Subrogation Agreement requested. Coast Guard advised that management was seeking advice from DFO Legal Services with regard to the Agreement.

On April 29, the Administrator informed the CCG that he will not be able to proceed with requisitioning of payment of this claim until the issue of Release and Subrogation Agreement has been resolved.

In September, 2016 the Department of Fisheries and Oceans received payment of their claim in the amount of $35,066.41 including interest. During the assessment of the claim and the CCG response to the incident it was not possible to identify the owner of the vessel. The Administrator concluded that all reasonable measures to recover the amount of the payment had been taken and closed the file.