Coast Guard re­moves 500 litres of fuel from Mano­lis L site

Cit­i­zens frus­trated no com­mit­ment to re­move up to 150,000 re­main­ing litres

The Beacon (Gander) - - News - BY ADAM RAN­DELL THE BEA­CON Adam.ran­dell@gan­der­bea­con.ca

Fuel con­tin­ues to seep from the sunken Mano­lis L. even though the Cana­dian Coast Guard re­cently re­moved 500 litres cap­tured by the cof­fer damn sur­round­ing it.

Larry Crann, act­ing deputy su­per­in­ten­dent for the Cana­dian Coast Guard, said the fuel was re­moved with the com­ple­tion of com­pre­hen­sive op­er­a­tions at the site on Oct. 6.

Along with the ex­trac­tion, weighted seals and the cof­fer damn, in place since last year, were also re­placed. A re­mo­te­op­er­ated ve­hi­cle sur­vey was car­ried out to make sure all equip­ment on the wreck was func­tion­ing prop­erly and there had been no re­lease of pol­lu­tants.

The in­spec­tion re­vealed a small leak had oc­curred around a patch put in place by the as­sess­ment team last year, said Crann.

“We could see a small drop of oil com­ing out of the patch, so we put an­other weighted seal over the patch,” he said.

Crann said the Coast Guard will re­turn in the next spring – be­tween May and Au­gust, de­pend­ing on the ice con­di­tions – for a fol­low-up in­spec­tion and to re­place any needed ma­te­ri­als.

He added the Cana­dian Coast Guard con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tors the area with site vis­its from ships, fly­overs, and feed­back from lo­cal res­i­dents.

The Mano­lis L. went down in 85 me­tres of wa­ters in Norte Dame Bay in 1985 af­ter run­ning aground on Blow Hard Rock off Change Is­lands, tak­ing with it an es­ti­mated 462,000 litres of fuel. Last year’s as­sess­ment es­ti­mated be­tween 115,000 to 150,000 litres are still trapped in the ship. No com­mit­ment

While last year’s tech­ni­cal as­sess­ment rec­om­mended ex­tract­ing the re­main­ing fuel, there has been no com­mit­ment on the fed­eral level to re­move the morethan 100,000 litres.

And that has con­cerned cit­i­zens frus­trated.

Carolyn Par­son, spokesper­son for the Mano­lis L. cit­i­zens’ re­sponse com­mit­tee, said this was the first work car­ried out at the site of the sunken ves­sel since last year’s as­sess­ment.

“There’s never been a time where the Mano­lis L hasn’t been leak­ing into the en­vi­ron­ment, be­cause a good por­tion is al­ready out of her,” said Par­sons.

“They have a rec­om­men­da­tion to re­move it and we have no in­di­ca­tion they are go­ing to do it in 2018 at this point.”

With the rec­om­men­da­tion to ex­tract the re­main­ing fuel, Par­sons said patch­work isn’t a so­lu­tion.

“It’s a lit­eral Band-Aid,” said Par­sons. “The rec­om­men­da­tion is there and it’s be­ing ig­nored.”

There have been dis­cus­sions on the fed­eral level, but she said it al­ways boils down to one ma­jor hur­dle.

“It’s a mat­ter of money. It seems like (ev­ery­one) wants this done…but the money has not been re­leased for this to go ahead.”

Scott Simms, MP for Coast of BaysCen­tral-Notre Dame, said work con­tin­ues to re­move the fuel from the wreck.

“We have se­cured the fund­ing to mon­i­tor,” he said. “I am now sub­mit­ting the re­quest for separate fund­ing out­side of the Coast Guards bud­get to is­sue a re­quest for pro­pos­als and get a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF THE CANA­DIAN COAST GUARD

A Cana­dian Coast Guard en­vi­ron­men­tal re­sponse crew pre­par­ing to in­stall a cof­fer­dam on the hull of the Mano­lis L. Oil col­lected in the old cof­fer­dam was re­moved and the cof­fer­dam was re­placed.

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