The MV Miner is seen in this photo taken by the Natural Resources Department on April 10. Natural Resources photo
SYDNEY, N.S. — The Nova Scotia government was hoping to soon see a salvage company’s plans for removing the MV Miner from the shore of Scatarie Island off Cape Breton.
Salvage company Bennington Group of New York did a fly-over of the derelict bulk carrier in early April, accompanied by officials of several provincial and federal government departments.
Don Feldman, a regional manager for the provincial Department of Natural Resources who met with the Bennington Group and government officials after the fly-over, said he hoped to see a salvage plan within a matter of weeks.
“We had some discussions . . . and what we are looking for now, what we have asked for, is a written plan we hope we will have in the very near future. The next few weeks at the latest, I think, is our hope.”
Feldman said without seeing that plan, he can’t speculate about when the ship will be removed.
“Hopefully, it will be relatively soon.”
Bennington Group and Armada Offshore of Turkey have entered into a joint venture with MV Miner owner Arivina Navigation SA of Turkey to remove the wreck.
The Greek ocean-going tug Hellas was towing the MV Miner on Sept. 20 when its line broke free and the ship ran aground on Scatarie Island. It was on its way from Montreal to Turkey, where it was supposed to be scrapped.
A salvage plan would be reviewed by Department of Natural Resources and Nova Scotia Environment department officials, as well as Environment Canada, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard, Feldman said.
Last fall, Feldman said he would have bet the MV Miner wouldn’t last the winter in one piece.
“There is no question it has weathered somewhat. There was already a pre-existing hole in the front and there is a couple of other holes there along the side but overall, I would have to say it has weathered . . . as good or better than we could have hoped,” he said.
“It’s all in one piece for the most part. I mean it is never going to (sail) again, of course, but it is still mostly in one piece with the exception of those holes, meaning it has not broken into independent sections.”
Any salvage plan will have to include proposals for removing the asbestos aboard the ship, he said.
Feldman said there has been no indications any asbestos has escaped the vessel.
“I think asbestos is the only hazardous material. Other materials that might have been on it earlier were all removed as far as we are aware but that’s part of the inventory, as well, the salvage company will have to do.”
A meeting with representatives of the community is likely once there is a salvage plan, he said.