A New York-based company experienced in dismantling and demolishing ships will work to remove the wreck of the MV Miner from Scatarie Island this summer.
The dismantling and removal of the wreck will protect the Scatarie Island environment and future fishery in the region, as well as create short-term employment for the local economy.
Bennington Group New York will begin removing the wreck in June. The project is expected to last two to three months. Bennington is working with Arvina Navigation, owner of the MV Miner.
"Nova Scotians want to see this vessel removed from our shoreline, and they want to see it removed at no cost to taxpayers," said John MacDonell, acting minister of Natural Resources. "There is a small window of opportunity to remove this vessel before hurricane season begins, so it is important to begin work as soon as possible."
Bennington Group and its affiliate companies have completed large projects of this type, including demilitarizing and dismantling an obsolete aircraft carrier for the American navy, removing and dismantling sunken and floating barges, and scrapping various ocean-going vessels.
Abe Shah, chief operating officer of Bennington Group, expects the work will generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for the local economy. About 60 workers, many to be hired from the region including divers, steels cutters and on-site security, will be required at various stages of the project. Local vessels as well as barges will transport workers and equipment to and from the site.
Most of the food, fuel, lumber and equipment will be purchased or leased from businesses in surrounding communities. Joe MacIsaac from Sydney has been appointed as dive supervisor and community liaison for the project by Bennington Group.
"We have the skill and expertise to safely remove the wreck and look forward to working with the fishermen and the community to help ensure the lucrative fishing grounds and the environment are protected for future generations," said Mr. Shah.
"There has been a lot of concern about the MV Miner in our community since last September, and I am encouraged to see Bennington is consulting us about the plan to remove the wreck," said Amanda McDougall, chair of the Main-a-Dieu Community Liaison Group.
Mr. Shah said the vessel will be dismantled in sections and the steel and equipment barged to Port Hawkesbury, where it will be shipped by rail to buyers in Canada and the United States.
The provincial departments of Environment and Natural Resources have placed strict terms and conditions on what activities can take place around the work site. Scatarie Island is a provincial-designated protected area and wildlife management area.
The Canadian Coast Guard will have a vessel onsite during the project to monitor impact on the marine environment. The company has submitted a workplace safety program to the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
Staff from the province will also be on-site during work hours.
The province approved the removal plan, in consultation with officials from the government of Canada.
The MV Miner was being towed when it broke free of its tug and ran aground on Scatarie Island in Sept. 20, 2011.
Bennington Group is receiving provincial authority to work on Scatarie Island until Aug. 31.
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