To Go or Not To Go? What Should Happen To The Cormorant?

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There seems to be ongoing disputes/questions about the Cormorant, a former Naval Vessel, now residing at Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. 

Bridgewater is a town situated at the LaHave River navigable limit in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada. Bridgewater is the largest town in the South Shore area, with a population of 8,532 as of 2016. Home To Donald Sutherland, Carole Baker, James and Sarah Dunsworth, Bridgewater prides itself on its being Nova Scotia’s “The South Shore Main Road.” The city boasts a diverse local economy, like Michelin, as well as larger national and international employers.

Bridgewater
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The Navy vessel, Cormorant has been sitting at Bridgewater for the last 18 years and has become a very unwelcome guest. The Canadian Coast Guard released proposals (March 27, 2020) to withdraw the Cormorant from the port with a deadline to file their claims with the coast guard for those with an interest in the 74-meter former navy dive vessel.

At an estimated cost of $5.7 million, Marine Recycling secured the contract to tow the 5,100-ton vessel from Halifax to Sydney, demilitarise its facilities, fix toxic waste and recycle any remaining materials. There are two options for the Cormorant, sink it, to have it become an artificial reef or tow it out of Bridgewater and scrap it. Because of the ship’s potential for PCB exposure, the sinking for the artificial reef will likely not occur.

Two corporations own the Cormorant; the Port of Bridgewater and Nova Scotia Limited 3092714. Rick Welsford is the managing director of both firms. Apparently, Welsford claimed that he just took possession of the Cormorant, brought to his wharf and left there by an American owner, in the federal court so that he could take it away. So the story goes, on the very day Rick admitted ownership, the coast guard stepped in to protect the Cormorant, keeping him from showing it to prospective investors or even getting on board. In February 2020, he submitted a request to the coast guard to have it washed up and towed to the Caribbean, where it would be sunk and turned into an artificial reef.

Learn more about the Abandoned or Dangerous Vessels Act at The Scuba News Canada.

Under the Wrecked, Abandoned or Dangerous Vessels Act passed last year by the Canadian Government, a ship cleanup bill may be sent to Welsford and according to him may not be paid due to lack of funds by the Port of Bridgewater.

So the question of “to go or not to go” for the Cormorant remains “tied up” at this time.

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Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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