The Cape Breton Post
The province says it has had no further contact with the salvage company that was in charge of removing the derelict MV Miner and it’s unlikely any further work at the site will take place this year.
Steve Wadden - Cape Breton Post
[SYDNEY, NS] — The province has had no further contact with the salvage company that was in charge of removing the derelict MV Miner from the shores of Scatarie Island and it’s unlikely any further work at the site will take place this year, Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker says.
Abe Shah, CEO of New York-based Bennington Group, said about two weeks ago that he was giving up on the salvage job. Shah has also said he intends to take legal action against the government for the money the company had spent prior to walking away, which he said was in excess of $300,000.
At the time, Parker said it was unfortunate that Bennington intended to walk away, but they were being asked to adhere to the same regulations that any company would to protect the safety of workers.
The province sent a letter to Bennington Group about a week ago hoping that the company would “re-engage,” but there has been no response, Parker said Monday.
“The letter of authority runs out on Dec. 1. I guess there’s still a few days left, but at this point we have not heard back from the Bennington Group,” he said. “I know the people of Main-a-Dieu are very concerned about this. Certainly as a province we’re all concerned and we all want to see that wreck removed from the shores of Scatarie Island.”
The province did not have a contract with Bennington Group, Parker said. Instead, the company had a salvage agreement with the MV Miner owners, Arivina Navigation SA of Turkey. The province has issued an order to Arivina Navigation SA to remove the derelict vessel.
Originally, the intention was to remove the vessel by mid-August. But Shah complained about bureaucratic obstacles set up by government departments, while the province stressed it had to require that the company follow health and safety requirements.
Parker was asked if it’s fair to say it’s highly unlikely that any additional work will take place at the site this year.
“I think you’re correct in that assessment, yes,” he said. “I guess at this point we’re going to have to re-engage with the federal government, because we really feel they have a responsibility and authority here to have that wreck removed. They do have the authority under the Canada Shipping Act.”
Parker added the province will also be in touch with the ship’s owner to try to find a workable solution.
Residents of the Main-a-Dieu area are concerned about what effect harsh winter conditions could have on the deteriorating vessel.
“We’re coming into winter ... we still remain hopeful that we can find a method to have that ship salvaged before it would break up, but with weather closing in, it’s not likely to happen this fall,” Parker said.
The MV Miner was being towed on Sept. 20, 2011, when its line broke free and the ship ran aground.