Ship that brought Tamil migrants to B.C. in 2009 being dismantled on Vancouver Island

Ship that brought Tamil migrants to B.C. in 2009 being dismantled on Vancouver Island
Canadian Coast Guard

The cargo ship that once brought dozens of Tamil migrants to British Columbia more than a decade ago is finally being dismantled near Campbell River.

The 56-metre MV Mini Fusion, formerly known as MV Ocean Lady, sailed across the Pacific Ocean to bring 76 migrants to British Columbia in 2009. The four Sri Lankan men accused of attempting to smuggle the asylum-seekers for profit were eventually found not guilty by a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

The ship was eventually abandoned and anchored in Doctor Bay in Desolation Sound. Two years ago, after it was stripped of tens of thousands of litres of oil, it was determined the vessel was an environmental hazard and should be deconstructed.

Last month, the vessel was transported from Doctor Bay to Duncan Bay near Campbell River to undergo deconstruction. Ontario-based Marine Recycling Corporation has secured the $1 million disposal contract, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada.

“The dismantling process takes about twelve days. This includes removal of any hazardous materials, pumping and cleaning. The steel has to be clean before it can be cut into pieces,” a Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson told CHEK News.

The work is being done through the federal government’s Oceans Protections Plan, which puts more responsibility and liability on derelict vessel owners through the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, which became law in 2019.

“Through the Oceans Protection Plan, we’re keeping our oceans safe,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement. “Thanks to the Plan, we’ve been able to remove hundreds of hazardous ships from our water that could pose a dangerous threat to safe navigation, including vessels like this one nearing the end of its life. By working together, we can keep vessels of concern out of our waters, and keep communities, the environment, and our economy safe for all Canadians.”

According to the federal government’s tender, the disposal work must be completed by Sept. 30, 2022.

Jeff LawrenceJeff Lawrence

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