Is there at last someone in Ottawa, aside from our own MPs – Jean Crowder and now Sheila Malcolmson – listening to the chorus of calls for the removal and disposal of the Viki Lyne II from Ladysmith Harbour?
It seems so.
Four years ago the Viki Lyne was towed into Ladysmith Harbour by the Canadian Coast Guard, and she’s sat rusting in Dogpatch ever since, despite a marine survey that said in 2012 she was at ‘immanent’ risk of sinking and polluting the harbour. She still has 13,000 litres of oil and solvents on board, still has a hull so compromised it could spring a leak at any moment.
The damage that would result to the shellfish industry, tourism and recreation has been the source of deep concern and vocal protest, all of which went entirely unheeded during the reign of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Unbelievable as it may sound, the official stance of the Coast Guard and Transport Canada, is that nothing will be done about a derelict, abandoned vessel unless it interferes with navigation of a waterway, or is actually sinking. Tuck it away in a harbour where not too much noise will be made about it, and you can leave it there until it’s taking on water.
How stupid is that?
Now that the federal government seems to have heard us, we have to keep sending signals that this issue cannot be left to fade into the background. Ottawa is a busy place, and the Liberal government has an ambitious agenda to carry out. The Viki Lyne II and the issue of derelict vessels are blips on the radar; we have to make sure they don’t blend into the background by demanding:
• First, that the Viki Lyne II be removed from Ladysmith Harbour and disposed of immediately;
• Then that a comprehensive program be put in place for the removal and disposal of derelict vessels from Canada’s coastal waters.
Until then, our patience will be wearing as thin as the hull of the Viki Lyne II.