Fuel a factor in salvage of sabotaged coast guard ship in N.S. fishing village [UPDATED]

By Michael Tutton   

Industry Transportation Canadian Coast Guard halifax Nova Scotia

The vessel was discovered on its side in the water Saturday morning.

HALIFAX—A Canadian Coast Guard vessel that was cut from its cradle at a Nova Scotia shipyard remained partially submerged Monday with 2,600 litres of diesel fuel in its tanks and 400 litres of hydraulic fluid on board.

Keith Laidlaw, the deputy superintendent for environmental response at the Canadian Coast Guard, said there is a “slight sheen” on nearby water but there isn’t enough material to prompt a cleanup effort, and he said the source of the sheen is unconfirmed.

He said a boom has been put in place around the vessel at Sambro Head, a coastal community 30 kilometres south of Halifax that is home to fishing vessels and a fish processing plant.

“Things are being taken slow, and safety is the biggest concern,” he said. “They (the salvage team) need to make sure all the precautions are in place and all the modelling is done properly as to how the ship will react when they start pumping it out.”


“It could take several days.”

Laidlaw said the salvage divers were checking the condition of the vessel and the salvage firm and marine engineers are making calculations and doing modelling on how the hull will react as the water is pumped out.

The vessel was discovered on its side in the water Saturday morning, after being released from its secured cradle and sliding down a slip at the shipyard.

The deputy superintendent said the extent of the damage will only be known when the vessel is pumped out and the submerged area is examined.

“Being partially submerged in salt water can affect engines and electrical systems and such. That’s the extent of the damage at this time,” he said.

“It’s not a good situation, let’s put it that way.”

Halifax Regional Police said the slip had been damaged, and a shipyard employee reported that a cable on the ship’s cradle and an additional safety cable had been cut clean through.

Const. John MacLeod said the service is seeking any information from the public about suspicious activity on the night before the ship slid into the water. It was reported to be in the water by 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

However, MacLeod was unable to offer many details of what had occurred or to indicate if video surveillance had captured any images of the event.

“It certainly is a significant incident in light of the damage it could cause and it did cause to the equipment that was holding the vessel in place,” he said.

Canadian Maritime Engineering, the shipyard doing the work, has said at the time of the vandalism the ship was being refitted for some of its components, allowing sea water to enter the vessel as it slipped into the water.

Those openings have to be sealed before the salvage team can begin pumping water out of the ship and it can be refloated.


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