SHELBURNE, N.S. – The Town of Shelburne has won a Federal Court decision granting them the entitlement to recover more than $140,000 from the owner of the MV Farley Mowat.
The money would be for outstanding berthage fees, clean-up costs, maintenance and security costs, and legal costs incurred during the almost three years the derelict ship was tied up and abandoned at the Shelburne Marine Terminal.
The decision was handed down on Dec. 21 by Federal Court Judge Elizabeth Heneghan.
Broken down the court’s judgment grants the Town of Shelburne the following:
• Outstanding berthage for Sept. 9, 2014, to April 8, 2017, in the amount of $50,245.80.
• Outstanding berthage accrued from April 9, 2017, to the date of removal of the defendant ship.
• Costs related to clean-up costs and maintenance of the defendant ship after July 2016 – $21,338.00.
• Ancillary costs relative to securing of the defendant ship in the amount of $62.32.
• Security costs in the amount of $13, 823.24.
• Partial recovery of legal fees and HST in the amount of $49,446.99.
• Recovery of disbursements, including HST, in the total amount of $5,775.31.
• Costs of the court motion.
The defendant, Tracy Dodds, was given 30 days to appeal the decision.
Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall said the town is “certainly pleased with the decision” and happy that the court ruled in the town’s favour.
“This will give us the opportunity to pursue any options that may become available to us,” Mattatall said about recouping the expenses.
The Farley Mowat was removed from the Shelburne Marine Terminal on July 26, 2017, by way of contract issued by the Canadian Coast Guard, which found the found the derelict vessel was presenting a risk of pollution to the marine environment in the area.
The passage of South Shore St. Margaret’s MP Bernadette Jordan’s private member’s bill in 2016 helped pave the way for the removal. The bill called on the federal government to take meaningful steps to address the issue of abandoned vessels across the country, under the Oceans Protection Plan.
The Town of Shelburne had been trying for years to have the ship removed. The courts did order deadlines for the owner to remove it but those orders were never fulfilled and Dodds was even ordered to serve 20 days in jail for contempt of court.
During its years at the Shelburne wharf the Farley Mowat – once the flagship vessel of the Sea Shepherd activitist group before being sold – had even caught fire and sank before being refloated.
It was a festive, party atmosphere in Shelburne on the day the vessel was finally removed last July, with cake served and music playing as the eyesore vessel was towed out of the harbour. It was taken to Liverpool and cut up as scrap.
- The MV Farley Mowat is an all-steel vessel built in Norway in 1956. The vessel sat abandoned at the dock in Shelburne from September 2014 to July 2017
- In May 2017, the Coast Guard contracted a marine surveyor to collect information on the MV Farley Mowat's condition, including its structural condition; watertight integrity; the quantity and location of any pollutants; and how the vessel would hold-up to towage.
- The survey found oil-contaminated water in most of the tanks and determined that based on the vessel's current condition, it is at risk of polluting if left unattended.
- Under powers granted to the Coast Guard under Section 180 of the Canada Shipping Act 2001, the owner was directed to remove the pollutants and safely dispose of the vessel.
- When the owner did not respond to the order to address the instability and poor condition of the vessel, the Canadian Coast Guard exercised its full authority to issue an emergency contract to prepare and tow the MV Farley Mowat to a disposal yard to protect the marine environment.