Decommissioned Ferry Sparks Maritime Concerns in Charlottetown

Canadian Coast Guard Investigates Oil Leak Originating from Aging Vessel En Route to Scrapyard

Vacancier-ferry-CTMA-Canada.990577


In a recent development in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, a decommissioned ferry, which had embarked on its final journey to the scrapyards in India, has been identified as the origin of an oil sheen and odor that has permeated the surrounding area. The vessel, now bearing the name Ancier, had been stationed in Charlottetown temporarily for refueling before undertaking its ultimate voyage.

The Canadian Coast Guard, responding to increasing complaints from residents over the weekend regarding an oil smell, has officially confirmed its ongoing investigation into the ferry as the likely source of the leak. Reports of an observable oil sheen in certain sections of the harbor prompted the deployment of a containment boom around the vessel to mitigate the spread of the spill.

This former ferry, boasting an 11,400 gross tonnage and a storied maritime history, was originally commissioned in 1973 as the Aurella, operating for Viking Line in the Baltic for nine years. Subsequent ownership changes led to its role as Saint Patrick II under Irish Ferries, offering additional capacity during peak seasons between Ireland and France. Over the years, it traversed diverse routes, including the Mediterranean around Greece and Spain.

Acquired by the Canadian government in 2002, the vessel underwent significant reconstruction, emerging as the Vacancier and serving predominantly in the Montreal-St. Lawrence-Magdalen Islands route for two decades. However, with the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the ferry was laid up and formally decommissioned in 2023, ultimately being sold for scrapping.

As the investigation unfolds, the Canadian Coast Guard informed CBC News that pollution control measures have been initiated, including a comprehensive hull survey. Although divers examining the hull on Wednesday did not detect apparent damage or leaks, the suspected source of the oil leak has been identified onboard. Consequently, the vessel’s operator is undertaking the removal of fuel from the identified tank to prevent further leakage.

The Coast Guard emphasizes its commitment to overseeing the ongoing cleanup efforts in the affected area and monitoring the shorelines for potential environmental impact. Presently, the derelict ferry remains moored at the dock while authorities work to address the ramifications of this maritime incident.

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