Summer is here and with it, the busiest maritime season on Canada’s waters! Commercial ships of all sizes navigate side-by-side with pleasure craft. So, what is the summer impact on our portfolio of incidents?
Looking at the historical data, in the past 32 years we notice only a slight variation between seasons. Over 1 in 4 incidents in our portfolio occurred during the summer months. The month of August saw the highest number, representing almost 11% of all ship-source oil pollution incidents resulting in claims (see the graph below).
Incidents Occurrence by Month and Season:
Summer is also the season of big contrasts. It’s the same in our portfolio. For incidents that occurred in the month of August, we received claims for the third biggest amount and the smallest amount. Here’s a little background on both:
|Ship name (year) and location||Amount claimed||Summary|
|Crown Forest 84-12 (2007)
Northeastern end of Vancouver Island, BC
|Skaubryn Mystery Spill – Georgie Girl Claim (2000)
Vancouver Harbour, BC
HOW DOES WINTER IMPACT OIL POLLUTION DAMAGES FROM SHIPS AND BOATS IN CANADA?
Before heading to the warmer spring temperatures, we explored the impacts of winter on our portfolio of incidents. The Fund receives claims for oil pollution damages anytime during the year. But we noticed some particularities when ice, snow, snowstorms, and cold weather are in season.
We examined 15 claims from 13 different winter incidents. The incidents occurred across the country, For more information about each incident, visit: https://sopf.gc.ca/?page_id=11715.
Sinking of the Chaulk Determination in the icy waters of Trois-Rivières, Quebec
- The incident represents the largest-ever payment for a single incident in our history. Over $4.3 million was paid to compensate two claimants. The cleaning efforts removed a total of 469,270 litres of ice with traces of pollutants in temperatures reaching -40°C.
You can watch a video published by Groupe Océan, company involved in the complex salvage and clean-up operations:
Vessels may suffer damage when frozen into the ice
- In the incident involving the Jennifer Holly (2019), NL, only removing fuel from the vessel was possible until the ice cleared. Later, in an attempt to extract the vessel from the ice, significant additional damage was done, causing some oil to spill.
Clean-up operations delayed due to ice
- In both the Lord Selkirk II (2014) and the Centurion – CCG Claim (2012), preliminary clean-up operations were completed. Further clean-up operations had wait for the ice to melt, in either spring or summer. Containment boom are sometimes placed to contain oil in case it is released during the ice melt.
Additional equipment or specific operations used to prevent oil pollution
- Icebreakers can be used to clear or break the ice, to facilitate the clean-up operations or to relieve the pressure around a ship. They were used for both the Calypso IV (1994), QC and the Princess No. 1 (1994), ON. Monitoring during icebreaking operation is necessary as it may free polluted ice.
- In the case of the Cormorant (2015), NS the local fire department used water pressure to blast the snow and ice off the partially sunken vessel.
- In the 2017 mystery spill, QC, the clean-up crew had to melt the ice to recover hydrocarbons with absorbents.
Weight of the snow, ice and water levels may cause vessels to sink
- In three incidents, which occurred in British Columbia and in Newfoundland and Labrador, the snow build-up caused the vessels to sink:
- Unknown Name (Houseboat) (2020) – BC
- Zodiac Light (2018) – BC
- Baccalieu Endeavour (2017) – NL
- In the case of the Cogna (1995), QC, the vessel was moored in an exposed position. The ship later sank due to high water levels and ice conditions.
Winter conditions can add delays, further damages, and extra efforts to address oil pollution incidents. Sometimes, these factors may have an impact on the amount of the claims submitted to the Fund for clean-up costs and salvage operations.
SHIP-SOURCE OIL POLLUTION FUND RECOVERS $375,000 FROM MARINE POLLUTER IN NOVA SCOTIA
January 20, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario
Today, the Administrator of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund announced the successful recovery of $375,000 from the shipowners of the Cormorant for polluting the water in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia in 2015.
In 2015, the Cormorant partially sank at Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, discharging oil into the La Have River. A response operation managed by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) removed 5,850 litres of waste oil and 350 litres of hydraulic oil from the vessel. The CCG submitted a claim to the Fund for the associated costs.
In 2016, the Administrator and her legal team began taking extensive legal actions to recover from the shipowners for the cost of the CCG’s oil spill response operation. In 2019, a settlement that included a consent judgment was reached with the Port of Bridgewater and a numbered company. Those parties admitted ownership of the vessel and agreed to pay $375,000 to the Fund. The Administrator registered the judgment against the Port of Bridgewater’s property. Upon the recent sale of that property, the Administrator was able to recover the totality of the settled amount.
Canada’s regime is based on the polluter-pays principle. Shipowners are responsible for oil pollution damage caused by their ship or boat. Since 1989, the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund has compensated those who suffer oil pollution damages caused by any type of oil, from any type of ship or boat, anywhere in Canadian waters. Once a claimant receives payment from the Fund, the Administrator takes all reasonable measures to recover from the shipowner or other persons responsible.
“We are pleased that our recovery efforts were successful and that we were able to recover $375,000 from the shipowner. We are committed to taking all necessary steps to make sure polluters are held accountable for the damages they cause”.
Anne Legars, Administrator of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund
- Constructed in 1963, the 75-metre long Cormorant was a former Royal Canadian Navy diving support ship that was decommissioned and sold to private entities in 1997.
- In 2015, the Fund paid over $530,000 to the CCG for its response operation to an oil spill caused by the Cormorant.
- In 2020, the CCG announced the removal, deconstruction, and recycling of the Cormorant, which was completed in the summer of 2021.
Incident Summary: Cormorant (2015), p.37:
2020-2021 Annual Report is now available
From the Bridge – Fall 2021 Edition: “WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SHIP-SOURCE OIL POLLUTION FUND”
The article describes the type of claims a shipowner or operator can submit to the Fund when they suffer oil pollution damage from another ship.
It also summarizes the list of operational incidents caused by commercial vessels that generated claims with the Fund.
Thank you to Master Mariners of Canada for telling your members about the Fund.
2019-2020 Annual Report
The 2019-2020 Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund Annual Report is now available on our website (www.sopf.gc.ca, under “Publications”). Should you have any suggestions for next year’s report, please forward them to email@example.com.
2019-2020 Annual Report Incident Summaries
A compilation of the summaries of all incident cases listed in the Incident Index of the Administrator’s 2019-2020 Annual Report, is now available on the website under Annual Incident Summaries at https://sopf.gc.ca/?page_id=9933
Pitts Carillon: The County of Prince Edward in Ontario accepted the Administrator’s offer of compensation – 2019-09-11
Recent News: The County of Prince Edward in Ontario accepted the Administrator’s offer of compensation for the Pitts Carillon incident. They will receive $394,110.76 (with interest), marking the highest amount ever paid to a local government in the history of the Fund.
In 2017, the County of Prince Edward called a water emergency and shut down their water plant as a result of the sinking and spilling from the barge. The pollutants released on the day of the sinking totalled approximately 50 litres in volume.
We want to remind municipalities, cities, villages, townships and Indigenous communities that, in case of damages, they can submit claims for:
- Clean-up costs and preventive measures
- Property damages
- Costs for rehabilitating damaged environments
- Economic losses
It is not the first time that we compensate regarding municipal water treatment systems. In 2017, we$225,094.77 to the Municipality of Killarney following the Warren L. II incident:
- We compensated for preventive measures taken to protect their water plant and for the costs of importing water to keep up with local demands during the water system shutdown.
For more information on the Pitts Carllion incident, visit: https://sopf.gc.ca/?page_id=4978
For more information on the Warren L. II incident, visit: https://sopf.gc.ca/?page_id=5229
The Picton Gazette – Pitts Carillon – 2019-08-26
Recent news regarding the Pitts Carillon and the claim process after a water emergency was declared as contaminants were approaching the water intake zone for Picton and Bloomfield water plants.
Thanks to The Picton Gazette for covering the story:
- “For 30 years, the Fund has been mandated to compensate victims of oil pollution damage (including costs incurred for preventive measures) caused by ships and then take action to recover the costs from the polluters or other responsible parties,” according to the SOPF.
Motion of sale dismissed in the HMCS Cormorant case – 2019-07-27
Recent news regarding the HMCS Cormorant, a former Royal Canadian Navy ship, that listed and leaked oil in the LaHave River, Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. The Federal Court of Canada dismissed a motion that would have allowed the sale of the ship.
- We opposed the sale because the ship has no market value, is a pollution risk and liability, and it is not in the public interest to allow the sale.
The Fund, who already paid more than half a million dollars for pollution cleanup, will continue the Court process to recuperate the cost from the polluter.
Thanks to the LighthouseNOW and the Chronicle Herald for telling the story.
- To read the complete articles, please visit:
Maritime Magazine – Highlights of 30th anniversary conference of the Fund – Summer 2019
Thanks Maritime Magazine for highlighting our 30th anniversary of compensating victims of oil pollution from ships.
We also wish to thank the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds), Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, Lyackson First Nation, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Town of Shelburne, Nova Scotia and the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities for their contribution!
BC Shipping News – May 2019
Press release: SOPF HAS COMPENSATED VICTIMS OF OIL POLLUTION FROM SHIPS FOR 30 YEARS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 24, 2019
THE SOPF HAS COMPENSATED VICTIMS OF OIL POLLUTION FROM SHIPS FOR 30 YEARS
OTTAWA – The Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (the Fund) today celebrates 30 years of compensating victims of oil pollution from ships. Since its creation in 1989, the Fund has received more than 409 claims and paid $24 million in compensation following the discharge – or the risk of a discharge – of oil in Canadian waters from ships of all types.
“Thirty years ago today, Canada established a compensation regime whereby victims of pollution can be compensated directly by the Fund, which then takes action against the polluter, while protecting taxpayers”, said Anne Legars, the Fund’s Administrator. “Since 1989, guided by the polluter pays principle, the Fund has been involved in 48 court cases, and as a result of its increased efforts over the last three years, it has recovered $2.6 million through the courts and out of court, more than ever before!”
Here are a few more key numbers:
- The Canadian Coast Guard remains the Fund’s main claimant, with close to 7 out of 10 claims submitted to the Fund;
- 1 out of every 4 claims involves a derelict or abandoned vessel or a wreck;
- The largest amount claimed in a single year was in 2017-2018, when the Fund received 32 claims totalling $7 million;
- The highest compensation amount paid to a single claimant was in 2018, when the Fund paid $4.2 million to the Canadian Coast Guard following the sinking of the Chaulk Determination in Trois-Rivières;
- Canadian victims received $12 million from the International Funds following the spill of 200 tons of fuel oil from the tanker Rio Orinoco, which sank off Anticosti Island in 1990;
- 2017-2018 was an historic year in terms of the diversity of claimants.
Throughout the year of celebration, the Fund will maximize its communication efforts in order to increase awareness of the Fund and continue to promote access to justice and compensation.
“We are actively working to inform all potential claimants of the Fund’s existence and the compensation they are entitled to, particularly by publishing more tools aimed at facilitating claims”, said Anne Legars, who is inviting all Canadians to participate online in the Fund’s anniversary conference scheduled for May 28, 2019 by visiting the following link: https://freeman.streamme.ca/sopf-cidphn2019.
FOR MORE INFORMATION / POUR PLUS D’INFORMATION: Jannie Bédard Guillemette: 613-990-8666
Canadian Sailings – March 2019 Issue: “Celebrating 30 years of compensating victims of oil pollution”
Our Administrator, Anne Legars, wrote an article in Canadian Sailings magazine for the March 2019 issue. The article summarizes the activities of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund over the last thirty years, and discusses significant legislative amendments in December 2018.
Thank you to Canadian Sailings for telling our story.
To read the article, please visit Canadian Sailings website, or follow the link below.