Af­ter 7 years as a blight, rust­ing ship re­moved from Beauharnois wa­ter­front


BEAUHARNOIS, Que. — For seven years, the Kathryn Spirit loomed over the wa­ter­front in Beauharnois, a rust­ing, aban­doned cargo ship that to the town’s dis­may be­came one of its most iden­ti­fi­able fea­tures.

On Fri­day, fed­eral Trans­port Min­is­ter Marc Garneau an­nounced that af­ter a num­ber of false starts, the ship has fi­nally been dis­man­tled and hauled away.

“Beauharnois will once again have a mag­nif­i­cent view on the St. Lawrence,” Garneau told re­porters gath­ered next to the ship’s former rest­ing place.

The only re­main­ing sign of the Kathryn Spirit is the earth-and rock bank built to sup­port the ship’s shaky hull and pre­vent it from drift­ing into the river. Garneau said the bank will be gone be­fore win­ter.

Built in 1967, the 150-me­tre­long ship was used to haul cargo. In 2011, a lo­cal com­pany bought it with the idea of strip­ping it for scrap, but those plans met op­po­si­tion from the province and lo­cal res­i­dents wor­ried about the re­sult­ing pol­lu­tion.

A Mex­i­can com­pany sub­se­quently bought the ship, so dam­aged it could not sail on its own, with the in­ten­tion of tow­ing it to Mex­ico. But the tug­boat hired to do the job was im­pounded in Hal­i­fax, and the com­pany went bank­rupt in 2015.

Last April, fire broke out in the en­gine room of the cor­rod­ing ship.

Garneau said the saga of the Kathryn Spirit will not be re­peated be­cause of new leg­is­la­tion pro­hibit­ing own­ers from aban­don­ing ships and hold­ing them re­spon­si­ble for any cleanup costs. Ot­tawa spent $11 mil­lion to re­move the ship from Beauharnois.

Beauharnois Mayor Bruno Trem­blay said he is re­lieved the ship is fi­nally gone, though he blamed a long back-and-forth be­tween Ot­tawa and the province for de­lay­ing the re­moval.

Anne Minh-Thu Quach, the lo­cal NDP MP, said the episode has left “a sour taste,” and she ques­tioned why the com­pany that ini­tially brought the Kathryn Spirit to Beauharnois for scrap — Groupe St-Pierre —was hired to dis­man­tle it. It is “an in­sult to in­tel­li­gence to re­ward pol­luters,” she said.

GRA­HAM HUGHES/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS The cargo ship, Kathryn Spirit is shown run aground on Lac Saint-Louis near Mon­treal on Novem­ber 10, 2016. For 11 years, the Kathryn Spirit loomed over the wa­ter­front in Beauharnois, a rust­ing, aban­doned cargo ship that to

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