A rusted hulk of a ship. As part of the five-year $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, Bill C-64: the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act has been passed which increases owner liability and sanctions the removal of hazardous or abandoned boats. (Roland Mey Pixabay File)

Canada announces shipwreck plan that could sting dumpers with $6M in fines

While Spain maps its sunken treasure galleons, Canada cracks down on modern shipwrecks

The government have announced new laws to crack down on shipwrecks and mariners abandoning their vessels.

As part of the five-year $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, Bill C-64: the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act has been passed which increases owner liability and sanctions the removal of hazardous or abandoned boats.

READ MORE: Dead Boat Disposal Society seeks owners of boats abandoned near Oak Bay Marina

Canada is not the only country keen to map and remove shipwrecks. The Spanish government, in a slightly more romantic initiative, announced that they have completed the first phase in their efforts to map 681 of their sunken galleons in the Caribbean and off the Eastern U.S. seaboard. Many of the ships are believed to contain religious artifacts, mercury, cloth and gold. Reports say that 91.2 per cent of the ships were found have been destroyed by severe weather, 4.3 per cent ran on to reefs or had other navigational problems, and 1.4 per cent were lost to naval battles with other countries’ navies. Only 0.8 per cent are thought to have been sunk by pirates.

On the Saanich Peninsula, the act is of interest to local mariners. Swartz Bay and Piers Island wharves Commissioner Mike Smart is frustrated with people who abandon their boats.

“Any sort of cleaning up of dumped or derelict boats is time well spent,” he said. “There isn’t a junkyard facility for people who abandon their boats.”

The act prohibits vessel abandonment and brings into Canadian law the International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. It also seeks to addresses irresponsible vessel management and enables the government to remove problem vessels. Individuals failing to comply with the act could get hit with a $50,000 fine, while companies could have to pay $250,000. Regulatory offence prosecution rises to a maximum fine of $1 million for individuals and $6 million for companies.

ALSO READ: B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

In 2017, the government launched two short-term funding programs to support coastal communities in removing and disposing of smaller high priority vessels. This was part of a national strategy and the programs were called Transport Canada’s Abandoned Boats Program and Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program.

“Abandoned and wrecked vessels can pose hazards, clutter our shorelines, affect sensitive marine habitats and species, and disrupt community activities. This strengthened legislation ensures these problems are addressed quickly, before they become more serious,” said Jonathan Wilkinson the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

ALSO READ: 1858 Naval maps combined with satellite data helps researchers map kelp bed health

To date, funding has been approved to assess 87 boats for a total of $267,560, and to remove 44 boats for a total of $597,993.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Abandoned and Wrecked Vessels Removal Program is providing up to $1.325 million to Harbour Authorities and other eligible parties to remove and dispose of wrecked vessels located in federal small craft harbours. So far, 23 boats have been removed and disposed of across Canada through the program, and funding has been awarded to gain possession of an additional 11 vessels.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Logging protester arrested near Balfour

Jessica Ogden remains in custody until a hearing date is set

First Nations included in latest Columbia River Treaty talks

Seventh round of negotiations between Canada and U.S. wrap up in Washington D.C.

Close to 1000 people expected to hear international evangelist Angus Buchan this weekend

The Mighty Men’s Conference is taking place in Castlegar June 28-30.

Former Nelson swimmers competing in NCAA

Jordan and Kelsey Andrusak will be rivals in in the Western Athletic Conference

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Most Read