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

tall ships

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Fraser Valley Bandits complete 2020 coaching staff

Four names added for the 2020 CEBL season, which begins on July 26 for the club

Financial literacy program expands across the Fraser Valley

Big Brain Literacy Program aims to help folks thwarted by the pandemic and in need of budgeting help

Missing Maple Ridge man’s car found in Harrison

Michael Denham has been missing since June 27

PHOTOS: Otter Co-op opens in east Abbotsford

New grocery store hosts grand opening on Monday morning

UFV grads of 2020 honoured in innovative ways

No convocation ceremony due to pandemic, but grads receive ‘celebration box’

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. homeowners plead for action on condo insurance crisis

Strata property fees growing bigger than mortgage payments

Indigenous man behind complaint of BC Transplant’s alcohol abstinence policy has died

David Dennis, who is Nuu-chah-nulth, argued that six-month sobriety policy is a ‘lethal form of racism’

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Urge travellers to follow COVID-19 rules in a ‘gentle way’: B.C.’s top doctor

Cases surging in the U.S. have B.C. officials hoping the border stays shut all summer

Pubs accused of ‘negligently’ serving alcohol before Surrey traffic crash

The case concerns an Aug. 2, 2015 single-vehicle crash

96-year-old woman scales B.C. butte with help of family, friends

‘I did as I was told and I enjoyed every minute of it’

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 exacerbated B.C.’s drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Officials say isolation, toxic drug supply, CERB, contributing to crisis

Most Read