The Abandoned Boat Program removes wreckage from the rocks on Murder Island in Yarmouth County

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YARMOUTH, NS — YARMOUTH, NS – For more than six years it sat, deteriorating, off Murder Island in the Tusket Island chain off Yarmouth County – abandoned where it came to rest after washing aground on the rocks on February 15, 2016.

Meanwhile, the fishing boat Don Cadegan has become nothing but a useless eyesore – a pile of tidal-beaten steel in the shoal that for years seemed destined to always be its permanent resting place. .

Until recently.

Earlier this month, the Don Cadegan was salvaged and removed from its roost off Murder Island by T&T Ocean Rescue.

The ship itself is still useless. It will be cut up for scrap.

But at least it eventually disappeared – as have many other derelict and derelict ships elsewhere in the province.

For years, the Don Cadegan lay where it ran aground in February 2016. – Ervin Olsen

Removing the Don Cadegan was no small feat.

“Now that we’ve gotten that one back, we know we can do any ship,” says Kurby Malone, co-owner of T&T Ocean Rescue. The marine repair and salvage company is based in Lower East Pubnico, Yarmouth County.

Over the years – including in 2022 – the company has removed and recovered many derelict, derelict and damaged vessels.

The Don Cadegan, Malone says, was their biggest challenge yet.

“It was tough, really tough,” he says. “But we have a very good team.”

The derelict and derelict fishing vessel Don Cadegan is towed into Lower East Pubnico, Yarmouth County, October 6 by the fishing vessel Jordyn and Hailey as part of T&T's Ocean Rescue operation to remove it from the spot where it had run aground six years earlier.  -Ervin Olsen
The derelict and derelict fishing vessel Don Cadegan is towed into Lower East Pubnico, Yarmouth County, October 6 by the fishing vessel Jordyn and Hailey as part of T&T’s Ocean Rescue operation to remove it from the spot where it had run aground six years earlier. -Ervin Olsen

The Don Cadegan sailed from West Pubnico in February 2016.

About three hours later, it ran aground.

At the time of the grounding, a call had been made to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. However, it was not deemed necessary to deploy rescue means as another fishing vessel in the area was able to assist.

The three-person crew of the Don Cadegan was safely picked up by this other fishing vessel.

From the wharf at Pinkney’s Point in Yarmouth County, although it was some distance away, the fish trawler’s rigging was visible after it ran aground.

Passing at low tide, you could see the boat stranded on the rocks.

A view of the fishing vessel Don Cadegan at high tide in 2017 off Murder Island in the Tusket Island chain off Yarmouth County.  The ship had run aground the previous year.  -Ervin Olsen
A view of the fishing vessel Don Cadegan at high tide in 2017 off Murder Island in the Tusket Island chain off Yarmouth County. The ship had run aground the previous year. -Ervin Olsen

At the time of the 2016 incident, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) had deployed a team to southwestern Nova Scotia to investigate, although a current search on the TSB website does not yield no sign of a report produced on the grounding.

This recent salvage operation involving the Don Cadegan was carried out as part of a program through Nova Scotia Lands Inc.

In 2021, the province announced that Nova Scotia Lands Inc. had received funding from the federal government under the Federal Abandoned Boats Program to remove numerous vessels in the province. In addition to federal funding, the province has also contributed funds. In 2021, the Abandoned Boats Program paid $559,920 for vessel removal, with the provincial government contributing $33,700, for a total of $593,620.

In 2022, the program continued.

As part of a provincial procurement process, T&T Ocean Rescue was the successful bidder to retire the Don Cadegan.

Malone says that for about a month, the detailed preparatory work for the eventual withdrawal took place.

“It took weeks of planning and weeks of making sure it was right and it was right. There is a big safety factor for the workers. We probably had a crew of 10 or 12 men,” he says.

And that prep work didn’t include the nights Malone would lie in bed thinking about the work ahead.

Or maybe he did.

Completion of work to remove the fishing boat Don Cadegan.  -Ervin Olsen
Completion of work to remove the fishing boat Don Cadegan. -Ervin Olsen

Malone says they didn’t fully know the ship. They had worked on it after it ran aground, removing fuel and other contaminants.

But the weather, the years and the conditions at sea had not been favorable to the ship.

The company has a marine lift to lift a boat.

Yet, says Malone, one of the biggest problems was getting to the ship itself.

“It’s just an open ocean. Even in summer, it’s not good in this shoal,” he says.

The marine flotation was key to the operation. After having to do a lot of welding to make sure the things that needed to stay would stay put, big balloons were deployed underneath and in other parts of the ship to free it from the grip of where it had run aground six years ago.

The Don Cadegan was 65 feet long and weighed 150 tons. Malone says each of the marine flotation balloons they have deployed is capable of supporting 60 tons of weight. They also placed one inside the ship’s fish hole which held 20 tons.

The fishing boat Don Cadegan was removed from Murder Island off Yarmouth County where it ran aground in February 2016. The removal was carried out earlier this month by T&T Ocean Rescue.  -Ervin Olsen
The fishing boat Don Cadegan was removed from Murder Island off Yarmouth County where it ran aground in February 2016. The removal was carried out earlier this month by T&T Ocean Rescue. -Ervin Olsen

When launched on October 6, she was towed by the fishing vessel Jordyn and Hailey to Lower East Pubnico.

A smaller outboard motor boat also helped guide the derelict ship to port.

“It would be the biggest challenge we’ve ever taken on,” Malone says. “We did it, we are quite satisfied.”

As mentioned, in 2021, Nova Scotia Lands Inc. received funding from the federal government through its Abandoned Boat Program to remove vessels from across the province.

Funds are provided to assist in the removal of abandoned and/or wrecked commercial and private vessels that pose a hazard to navigation and the environment in Canadian waters.

In the first year of the program, 14 vessels were removed from the province. In all three counties, ships withdrawn included those from Sandy Cove, Cape Forchu and Weymouth.

The kidnapping of the fishing boat Don Cadegan.  -Ervin Olsen
The kidnapping of the fishing boat Don Cadegan. -Ervin Olsen

On the provincial scene

Deborah Bayer, communications adviser for the Department of Public Works, said the Nova Scotia Lands Inc. program to remove derelict vessels will end in 2023.

“The program has been very successful. This has eliminated hazards to navigation, public safety, the environment and coastal beauty in many places where we have removed these vessels,” she says.

“To date, we have assessed and will complete the removal of 19 vessels from areas of Nova Scotia. The last two to three should be finished by the end of October,” she says.

The ships that were removed ranged in construction from wood to fiberglass to steel. They range from pleasure craft to fishing vessels and some construction vessels, i.e. barges.

Locations where ships have been removed include coasts, beaches, river bottoms, island strandings, and locations beside docks.

Bayer says Transport Canada has issued another appeal for the assessment and removal of the vessel.

“We are working with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewable Energy to determine if there are more ships that could qualify for the program,” she says.

The Don Cadegan beached in February 2016. - Ervin Olsen
The Don Cadegan beached in February 2016. – Ervin Olsen

In the Atlantic region

Under the Oceans Protection Plan, launched in 2016, the Government of Canada has worked to reduce the number of vessels of concern in Canadian waters and minimize their impact on coastal communities, the environment and the public. This includes the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act (WAHVA) which came into force in 2019.

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the law helps protect the environment while reducing the burden on taxpayers. The law reinforces the liability of owners and the liability of their vessels; makes it illegal to abandon a boat; and gives the federal government more powers to take action against problematic vessels before they can cause even greater problems at greater cost.

Since 2016, the Government of Canada has funded nearly 500 derelict boat removal and disposal projects across Canada.

In the Atlantic provinces, 24 vessels have been retired since the WAHVA came into force in 2019.

As part of the National Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Strategy announced under the Oceans Protection Plan, a national inventory of problematic vessels is being developed by the Department of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

“The purpose of the National Inventory is to better understand the extent and magnitude of the situation across Canada and to track and report on these vessels,” reads a DFO statement given to Saltwire Network. . “The National Inventory will aim to contain information on all problematic vessels in Canadian waters, including Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zone and on federal Crown lands.”

DFO says the Canadian Coast Guard is currently aware of 204 vessels in the Atlantic region that have been identified for assessment.

“This dynamic number represents the presence of a vessel that falls within the parameters of WAHVA, but in no way represents the number of vessels requiring removal action,” reads its statement. “Each vessel is assessed for hazards and action is taken where necessary to mitigate any risks that may be posed. Currently, we are planning removal operations for approximately 35 vessels.


FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Additional information on the Canadian Coast Guard’s role in dealing with wrecked, derelict or dangerous vessels can be found here: https://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/awah-ienad/index-eng.html

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