Com­ing to Queens: Far­ley Mowat heads to Brook­lyn for dis­man­tling

The Queens County Advance - - COMMUNITY - BY KATHY JOHN­SON 4)&-#63/& /4

There was an early morn­ing cel­e­bra­tion at the Shel­burne Marine Ter­mi­nal on July 26 as the Town of Shel­burne bid farewell to the MV Far­ley Mowat.

Peo­ple be­gan ar­riv­ing at the wharf be­fore 7 a.m., the an­tic­i­pated de­par­ture time for the aban­doned, derelict ves­sel. A pi­rate and a piper were among the crowd that also in­cluded South Shore-st. Mar­garet’s MP Ber­nadette Jor­dan and Shel­burne Mayor Karen Mat­tatall.

“This is a very big day for the Town of Shel­burne,” said Mat­tatall. “It’s been al­most three years we’ve had this al­ba­tross around our necks so fi­nally the day has come. It’s a very big deal for us. It’s been a long time com­ing. We ex­hausted ev­ery le­gal op­tion that we had. We are thank­ful the fed­eral gov­ern­ment stepped in. It’s im­por­tant to the Town to see it go. It’s a big deal be­cause it never should have hap­pened to be­gin with.”

The process to re­move the Far­ley Mowat from the Shel­burne Marine Ter­mi­nal be­gan on July 5, af­ter a sur­vey in May con­cluded the ves­sel was pre­sent­ing a risk of pol­lu­tion to the marine en­vi­ron­ment in the area.

The Cana­dian Coast Guard gave owner Tracey Dodds, who aban­doned the Far­ley Mowat in Septem­ber 2014, un­til June 12 to de­velop a plan to ad­dress the threat of pol­lu­tion the ves­sel posed while at the dock in Shel­burne. With the dead­line passed and no plan from the owner, the Coast Guard is­sued a con­tract for the re­moval and dis­posal of the ves­sel.

To pre­pare the ves­sel for tow­ing, all flu­ids were re­moved from the open hull as well as the bal­last tanks, said Keith Laid­low , se­nior re­sponse of­fi­cer with the Cana­dian Coast Guard. Then, 16 tonnes of con­crete were poured into the ves­sel “to give it some bal­last so it would be sta­ble,” said Laid­law. “That’s what the naval ar­chi­tects and en­gi­neers came up with for a safe tow.”

Laid­law said At­lantic Tow­ing ar­rived at the wharf on July 25 and the tow line was con­nected, with the tow cap­tain mak­ing the fi­nal call whether the tow would be a go.

For a while, it was iffy whether not sea con­di­tions would be OK. That didn’t seem to bother the crowd, who en­joyed cake, lis­tened to mu­sic and so­cial­ized. Fi­nally, at 9:30 a.m., af­ter a sec­ond check on sea con­di­tions, the tow was a go.

It didn’t take long for the con­trac­tors and Coast Guard per­son­nel to ready the Far­ley and un­tie the lines. In to­tal, there were 30 peo­ple on site to do the job, which in­cluded es­cort­ing the Far­ley Mowat out of the har­bour .

“It will be es­corted by a cou­ple of our pol­lu­tion re­sponse ves­sels and a con­ser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion ves­sel,” said Laid­law.

The CCG ship Earl Grey and a Coast Guard chop­per were also on site to es­cort the ves­sel.

Laid­law es­ti­mated it would take 10 hours to tow the Far­ley to Mersey Park in Brook­lyn, Queens County where it will be dis­man­tled.

“We have to have a tow route mapped out and we have that as part of our plan,” he said. “They will fol­low that route,” adding the tow had to be done in day­light hours.

It was through the pas­sage of Jor­dan’s pri­vate mem­ber’s bill last fall that the way was paved for re­moval of the ves­sel.

“This is re­ally ex­cit­ing,” said Jor­dan as she watched the Far­ley Mowat be read­ied for tow­ing.

Jor­dan said she used the Far­ley Mowat as the “poster child” to show Par­lia­ment “this is what coastal com­mu­ni­ties shouldn’t have to deal with.”

Mat­tatall es­ti­mates it has cost the Town of Shel­burne more than $200,000 in un­paid berthage fees, le­gal costs, se­cu­rity and other ex­penses to have the Far­ley Mowat aban­doned at the marine ter­mi­nal for the past three years.

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Work­ers with Clean Earth Tech­nolo­gies walk across the deck of the MV Far­ley Mowat dur­ing an ini­tial as­sess­ment of the ves­sel in early July

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