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St. Anthony applies for funding to get rid of abandoned Baffin Sound

The Town of St. Anthony has been trying to remove the Baffin Sound from one of its wharves for several years.
The Town of St. Anthony has been trying to remove the Baffin Sound from one of its wharves for several years. - Submitted

Port Saunders received money to remove a vessel last year

GREAT NORTHERN PENINSULA, NL – The St. Anthony Port Authority is hoping federal legislation will help remove the abandoned Baffin Sound from the harbour.

Chair Ernest Simms informed the Northern Pen that the port authority has applied for federal funding to remove the abandoned vessel.

Funding is available through two federal programs – Transport Canada’s abandoned boats program and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) small craft harbours abandoned and wrecked vessels removal program.

These programs are part of government’s strategy to address abandoned and wrecked vessels.

The 80-foot Baffin Sound has been tied to a wharf on St. Anthony’s eastside for several years. The boat takes up the full length of a pier and has impeded business for the port authority.

In a Jan. 11, 2017 Northern Pen article, then-mayor Simms stated the town is losing money since it could be generating income from an active vessel tied at that space.

Furthermore, he said in the article that work required at the wharf couldn’t go ahead until the Baffin Sound is removed.

While the port authority and the town have fought to get rid of the vessel, all attempts thus far have failed.

Simms says a lawyer has been working on the case for the past couple of years, which continues to cost the town money.

This past fall, an attempt to put the vessel to tender failed as there were no bidders.

“It’s a difficult process, I’ve never run across anything like it,” said Simms.

Funding through these federal programs is the next resort.

As of March 14, Simms says the port authority only knew that the application has been received.

Port Saunders boat removed this past January

In November 2017, the Port Saunders Harbour Authority was able to dispose of the Yankee Point – a derelict 52-foot shrimp trawler.

According to Port Saunders Harbour Authority manager Maurice Ryan, the boat sat at the small craft harbour wharf for over a year.

Ryan says the harbour authority isn’t allowed to deny any berthage; when the owner put the boat there, the port authority was left with the task of getting rid of it.

He says it was taking up “prime berthage” at the wharf, which was an issue for the other operators.

“We got a lot of people here, especially early in the spring, competing for a good place to tie on their vessels – especially on the weekends when they go home, they want safe berthage,” he said. “And that was one of the better spots, where she was tied on.”

The harbour authority applied for funding and received approval from the federal government for Northern Boat Repair to demolish the Yankee Point.
“They hauled her on dry dock, got the excavator and demolished her, and then hauled her to the waste disposal site,” he said.

Ryan hopes to prevent this type of situation from re-occurring.

“Hopefully we’ll be on top of this so it don’t happen again,” he said.

Update: The Department of Fisheries and Oceans released a statement to the Northern Pen indicating the Baffin Sound would not be eligible for removal through its program, as it is not located at a Small Craft Harbour property.

"While both programs fall under the Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, there are different criteria to meet in order to be eligible for funding from the Transport Canada Abandoned Boats Program and the Fisheries and Oceans Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Vessel Removal Program," the statement reads. "The Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Vessel Removal Program is limited to removal projects on Small Craft Harbour property; and in this case, the vessel located at St. Anthony Port Authority is outside of those limits."

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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