Low water level poses risk to abandoned ship near Beauharnois
Published Sunday, June 26, 2016 2:30PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, June 26, 2016 6:49PM EDT
The future of an abandoned cargo ship that has sat off the coast of Beauharnois for over four years remains in limbo, despite renewed fears of capsizing due to lowered water levels.
The Kathryn Spirit was brought to Beauharnois in 2011 after it was bought by a private firm which intended to dismantle the vessel and sell it for scrap. However, the ship was instead sold to a Mexican firm which later declared bankruptcy, leaving the Kathryn Spirit abandoned in the process.
In February, federal inspectors said the ship did not pose any risk of capsizing or of causing an environmental disaster. A committee was formed of federal and local agencies to determine the best course of action in regards to the ship.
However, an inspection on Friday led Transport Canada to notify the Coast Guard of an increased risk of the boat capsizing.
Beauharnois Mayor Claude Haineault said he still waiting to hear what the committee plans to do with the Kathryn Spirit. There is currently a barrier around it to prevent any fuel from spreading into the lake if the boat does tip over. However, the barrier won’t prevent any other contents from the ship getting into the waterway.
If the committee decided to dismantle the ship at its current location, a stone wall would need to be built around it to keep the boat contained.
In the meantime, Haineault said he is especially worried about what would happen to the nearby L’Iles de la Paix National Wildlife Area should contaminants leak. He said it would take only 30 minutes for the current to bring pollutants to the protected environment.