The owner of a pleasure craft that washed up on the western shores of Porpoise Bay in mid-November has still not been located as the Canadian Coast Guard turns the file over to the Vessel of Concern Program.
Residents noticed the beached vessel northwest of MacKenzie’s marina around Nov. 18 but efforts to deal with the approximately 30-foot (nine-metre) boat, called the Joy, were thwarted initially because of a spate of strong storms that hit the south coast, preventing the Coast Guard’s Environmental Response team from assessing whether it posed a risk of polluting the bay with oil or gas.
By Dec. 2 Coast Guard confirmed with Coast Reporter the boat is low risk to pollute and has been handed over to Vessel of Concern officers who will conduct an initial assessment and address any hazards. They will also try to find the owner, who under Canadian law is responsible for cleanup and removal, unless the risk is too great to wait, at which point the government agency would remove the boat.
In Western Canada there are more than 1,000 known suspected abandoned, wrecked and hazardous vessels listed in a Coast Guard inventory and as of November, 164 cases have been reported in 2020.
In August, Coast Guard officials removed a partially submerged 24-foot fibreglass boat named Bald Eagle at anchor in East Porpoise Bay after it was deemed a navigation hazard.
On Nov. 28 the federal government announced it would be removing a sunken vessel, the R.B. Green, located in a high-traffic area between the government wharf and Mackenzie Marina.
The Vessels of Concern program is a shared initiative between Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Report vessels that may be harmful to the environment or pose a health and safety risk to the Coast Guard by calling 1-800-889-8852.
- with files from Sean Eckford