2.14 Tyee Princess & YF-875 (2011)

LOCATION: South Pacific Coast – Britannia Beach, Howe Sound, British Columbia

Case number: 120-611 & 120-612

During investigation of La Lumiere incident claim (Section 2.2 refers) the Canadian Coast Guard informed the Administrator that two additional vessels, Tyee Princess and YF-875, are moored at Britannia Beach, Howe Sound, British Columbia. The Administrator takes the position that the two vessels belong to the Province of British Colombia, since the previous owners, the Maritime Heritage Society of Vancouver, has ceased to exist and the assets of the Society were transferred to the Province. They continue to present a serious threat to cause pollution damage. Given the visual condition of these vessels, the Coast Guard hired McAllister Marine Survey and Design Ltd. to conduct a technical survey of their condition. The Administrator then instructed counsel to engage a surveyor to attend the inspection of the vessels.

On January 31, 2012, McAllister Marine Survey and Design Ltd. concluded that the old vessels pose a significant and ever increasing risk of polluting the marine environment with the fuel oil remaining onboard. Furthermore, it recommended that both vessels should be pumped out as soon as possible, drydocked and scrapped. The Administrator was provided with a copy of the technical report.
On March 30, 2012, the surveyor engaged by the SOPF was advised that the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources had hired Hazco (a company specializing in disposal of pollutants) to remove pollutants from the two vessels. During the following week Coast Guard personnel boarded the vessels to determine whether any hydrocarbons remained onboard. The inspection found that the contractor had removed loose barrels and other containers of used oils, paints and thinners. Also, they had pumped out the engine room bilges of oily water, and the rainwater accumulated in the cargo hold of the Tyee Princess. However, the oil had not been removed from machinery sumps, hydraulic systems or fuel tanks of the Tyee Princess, or from the bilges and oil filter casing in the engine room of the YF-875. Consequently, the overall situation remained unchanged in that oil pollution will occur if either of the vessels sinks.

As a result of its findings, Coast Guard developed a Statement of Work and Request for Proposals to remove the oils from the vessels. Subsequently, cost estimates were obtained. On October 9, 2012, the Coast Guard was informed that the Province does not intend to undertake any further remedial work on the Tyee Princess or the YF-875 at this time.

Throughout, the Administrator encouraged those responsible to take measures to remove the threatened pollution, because response action in the future will undoubtedly be more expensive if the vessels sink at the wharf. On December 2, 2012, counsel enquired with Coast Guard as to whether or not the Federal Government is taking any action to prevent the inevitable pollution that would be caused by the sinking of these vessels. Coast Guard was requested to provide an up-to-date status report in respect of what is being done to remove the remaining hydrocarbons from the vessels to avoid their sinking and polluting Howe Sound.
On February 11, 2014, Coast Guard informed the Administrator that the two vessels had been moved from Britannia Beach to Mission, British Columbia, for dismantling. Coast Guard will investigate further; meanwhile, these files are held in abeyance.