LOCATION: Ladysmith Harbour, British Columbia
Case number: 120-619
On June 21, 2012, the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) informed the Administrator about this incident. A concerned citizen had reported that an old steel-hulled fishing vessel, Viki Lyne II, was abandoned in Ladysmith Harbour, British Columbia, and was likely to discharge a pollutant. The CCG conducted an initial assessment and found the vessel in a deteriorated condition with substantial amounts of oil aboard. In consequence, the CCG contracted McAllister Marine Survey & Design Ltd. to have a technical surveyor examine the vessel and offer an opinion as to whether an imminent threat of pollution exists. The Administrator instructed counsel to engage a marine surveyor to represent the Fund, and to arrange with CCG to have the surveyor attend the inspection of the vessel on behalf of the Fund.
On August 31, McAllister Marine Survey and Design Ltd. presented its technical survey report. The surveyor concluded that due to the overall condition of Viki Lyne II, it posed a significant, imminent and ever-increasing threat to the environment. The report recommended that the only certain way of removing the oils aboard contained in piping and machinery was to disassemble and scrap the vessel as soon as possible. The technical surveyor engaged on behalf of the Fund confirmed that McAllister’s report accurately reflected the condition of the fishing vessel, and the amount of hydrocarbons on board. However, the surveyor from the Fund had offered an opinion that the removal and cleaning of hydrocarbons from the Viki Lyne II, rather than demolition would have been the least cost option to minimize the threat of hydrocarbon pollution. CCG has been informed of this independent opinion.
The Coast Guard later advised that it was working with Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) to develop contract specification for the process of tendering. On July 9, 2013, counsel for the Administrator was informed by Coast Guard that an environmental response employee had attended the vessel in late June, and there was no evidence that the owner had removed any oil, or other pollutants. Therefore, the Coast Guard was assessing available options and would welcome an opportunity to discuss with the Administrator the reasonableness of each option.
On July 30, 2013, counsel replied and reminded Coast Guard of the earlier opinion of the independent technical surveyor appointed by the Administrator – notably, that the removal of the pollutants could be done at a lesser cost than deconstruction of the vessel. The surveyor had also recommended that quotations be obtained for both alternatives. Counsel confirmed to Coast Guard that the Administrator cannot prejudge the measures taken prior to the submission of the claim.
On March 31, 2014, Coast Guard reported in its year-end claims status report that the vessel has been identified as a potential hazard and that preventive measures would soon be taken, following which a claim would be submitted to the SOPF.
On March 17, 2016, the Coast Guard informed the Administrator that a contractor was hired in 2014 to remove approximately 23,000 litres of oil and oily water from the vessel. Furthermore, Coast Guard advises that a survey completed in February 2016, indicated that there are approximately 18,000 litres of oil/oily pollutants remaining in the vessel. Coast Guard is now planning to remove the remaining oil and oily pollutants in early 2016. As of the end of the fiscal year, no claim has been filed with the Fund. Meanwhile, the file remains open.