March 29, 2022

Images & Video of Canadian Coast Guard Working to Remove an Abandoned Boat in Bluffers Park

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Below is from TC in regards to identifying owners of abandoned vessels. A cycnic might say a typical government non-response. A realist might think Transport Canada isn't going to reveal the "measures to strengthen vessel owner identification systems" to avoid giving vessel owners the playbook for avoiding responsibilty for their abandoned vessel.

Response from Transport Canada

Transport Canada takes every reasonable step to identify an owner of an abandoned vessel to ensure that owner is held accountable, including for the costs to remove and dispose of the vessel. The Wrecked, Abandoned and Hazardous Vessels Act, which came into force in 2019, provides the Government of Canada with greater powers to not only take more proactive measures on problem vessels before they become even bigger problems, but to also ensure owners can be held responsible.

We are aware that identification numbers are sometimes removed from vessels, making it more challenging to identify their owners. Through Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, a National Strategy for Wrecked and Abandoned Vessels was developed and includes measures to strengthen vessel owner identification systems, specifically the vessel registration and pleasure craft licensing programs. Regulatory and program and service delivery improvements to vessel registration and licensing programs (including vessel identification requirements for manufacturers), combined with the Act, will improve the Government of Canada’s ability to ensure owners, and not taxpayers, pay for the costs of removal going forward. 

There is a significant backlog of problem vessels in Canadian waters, some of which have been abandoned for decades. It will not always be possible to identify or locate an owner in these circumstances. In the  meantime, taxpayers are asked to cover the removal, clean-up and disposal costs to help protect our coasts. As part of the National Strategy, the Government of Canada has also proposed to introduce a long-term vessel remediation fund, paid by vessel owners themselves, to help reduce the burden placed upon taxpayers.

Kind regards,

Sau Sau Liu

Senior Communications Advisor | Conseillère principale en communications

Transport Canada | Transports Canada

Below is from FOC about the removal of the abandoned boat at Bluffers Park and who is ultimately responsible for paying for the operation. The Coast Guard is responsible for the removal of the vessel while it falls to Transport Canada to recoup costs for the operation by locating the owner of the vessel. I've reached out to Transport Canada and am awaiting a reply to the question of "Why am I paying to get rid of some guy’s toy?" A question, I'm guessing, we'd all like to hear answered.

Response from Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Here is the information about the Vessels of Concern Program, and a few details specifically about the vessel at Bluffers Park.

  • Wrecked, abandoned and hazardous vessels can be found on all of Canada’s coasts and are a serious problem, posing safety, environmental and economic concerns across the country.
  • The Government of Canada is working to reduce the number of vessels of concern in Canadian waters, and minimize their impact on coastal communities, the environment and the public.
  • The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act became law in 2019 and helps protect the environment while reducing the burden on taxpayers. The Act strengthens owner responsibility and liability for their vessels; prohibits vessel abandonment; and gives the federal government more powers to take action against problem vessels before they can pose even greater problems at greater costs.
  • Vessel owners are responsible for complying with the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act. Under the Act, owners are liable for addressing their vessel or wreck when it is hazardous or unfit for safe navigation. They must also handle all associated costs, including any remediation action taken by federal officers.
  • If the owner cannot be found or is unable or unwilling to address the problem, the Government of Canada can take direct and immediate action to prevent, mitigate or eliminate the risks that hazardous vessels pose.
  • The Canadian Coast Guard will proceed with the removal of the abandoned vessel, located at Scarborough’s Bluffers Park boat launch. The vessel, in its current state, poses a risk to the surrounding environment and public safety, due to: possible hydrocarbons on board; vessel debris; and, potential damage to boat launch property.
  • We are currently in the process of awarding a contract for the removal of the sunken vessel at Scarborough’s Bluffer’s Park. The vessel will be safely removed and disposed of within 30 days of the contract award.

Lindsey McDonald

Media Relations / Relations avec les médias

Fisheries & Oceans Canada / Pêches et Océans Canada

Canadian Coast Guard / Garde côtière canadienne