Statement by the Canadian Coast Guard on the Kathryn Spirit

Canadian Coast Guard Update on the Kathryn Spirit

July 8, 2016

The Coast Guard understands and shares the concerns expressed by the community and we are actively working with our partners on a permanent solution for removing the Kathryn Spirit from Lake Saint-Louis once and for all. Since the list of the vessel began to increase, immediate actions have been taken to ensure the safety of the public, personnel and protection of the marine environment.

Coast Guard enforced its authority under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001. Emergency tugs were contracted, booms were deployed, an incident command post was established, and the CCGS Griffon was working on site and ready to respond.

Based on the recommendations of the working group’s report of July 5, 2016, we are confident that the best option is to dismantle the vessel so it no longer poses a threat to safety and pollution.

In the meantime, our actions continue to mitigate risks. Coast Guard contracted Sauvetage Maritime Océan Inc to add stabilization cables and barges to keep the vessel in place. This work is being conducted under Coast Guard’s leadership and is proceeding on an urgent basis. We are working with our partners and ensuring that the communities and local first nations are informed.

BACKGROUND

Since 2011, the Kathryn Spirit has been moored on the shores of Lake Saint-Louis, in Beauharnois, Quebec. In February 2016, a working group was assigned to assess options for a permanent and safe solution to address the abandoned vessel. The group is comprised of representatives from the Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Quebec Ministère de la Sécurité publique, the Quebec Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, the St. Lawrence Seaway, Excavation René St-Pierre Inc., the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, and the municipalities of Montreal, Beauharnois and Châteauguay.

While this work was ongoing, the situation of the Kathryn Spirit changed; the vessel developed a list and the tension in the mooring lines increased. Coast Guard took rapid action, deployed personnel and equipment, set up an incident command post and took necessary measures to mitigate the threat of pollution.

Original Statement

June 24, 2016

As a result of routine inspections conducted by Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard was notified about potential risks to the stability of the Kathryn Spirit cargo ship due to a drop in water levels in Lac Saint-Louis.

The Canadian Coast Guard is monitoring and assisting Transport Canada with a follow-up inspection. Based on this inspection, the necessary steps will be taken to further stabilize the vessel. 

Although pollutants were removed from the vessel in 2013, the Coast Guard has also taken measures to mobilize environmental response equipment to further reduce the threat of pollution to the marine environment. We continue to keep the municipality of Beauharnois, the Quebec government and community partners apprised of the situation. All parties have been working together to find a permanent long-term solution to the Kathryn Spirit through a collaborative working group.

Our immediate priorities are to ensure the ship remains secure on the shores of Lac Saint-Louis and to protect the pristine, natural environment. We will provide further updates as they become available.

Julie Gascon
Assistant Commissioner, Central and Artic Region
Canadian Coast Guard

Contact:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec Region
media.qc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca 
418-648-5474