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Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans will spend over half a million dollars this year to remove 14 boat wrecks in Nova Scotia.
The department told SaltWire in an email that most of the wrecks were abandoned between five and 50 years ago, long before a law was enacted in 2019 making boat owners liable for their removal.
Under the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act (WAHVA) boat owners are responsible for pollution or any hazard-related costs, including cleanup, repairs and/or disposal.
This week Nova Scotia Lands Inc. was awarded a $559,920 contract to remove and dispose of the boats.
That same organization won a $105,285 contract in 2018 to remove 30 abandoned boats from various locations around Nova Scotia.
In Newfoundland and Labrador the Town of Port aux Choix received $5,000 to carry out an assessment for possible removal of a boat wreck in that area. Three groups in BC were funded to carry out assessments on 35 abandoned boats in that province.
The funding for the removals comes from Transport Canada’s Abandoned Boats Program, and DFO’s Small Craft Harbours Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program.
A total of $1.6 million is being spent this year to remove 51 wrecks and abandoned vessels in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, and to assess another 44 abandoned boats for potential removal in B.C. and Newfoundland and Labrador.
According to Transport Canada, most of them are fishing boats, pleasure craft, sailboats and a few power cruisers.
The federal government, through the Canadian Coast Guard, also welcomes reports of problem or abandoned vessels.
In Atlantic Canada, the number to call is: 1-800-565-1633.
Anyone wishing to import, salvage, and claim or take possession of a found wreck anywhere in the Atlantic provinces, should call the regional Receiver of Wrecks at 1-506-851-3113.
According to Transport Canada, since the WAHVA came into force in July 2019, “(they have) worked to establish a graduated, transparent, and risk-based approach to ensure compliance with the Act.”
“This has resulted in an instance where an irresponsible boat owner was required to pay a monetary penalty, instances where owners were ordered to remove and dispose of their boats, and other instances where warnings were issued to irresponsible boat owners.”