Bon Voyage to the HMCS Cormorant at Bridgewater, Nova Scotia

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The ongoing disputes/questions about the HMS Cormorant, a former Canadian Naval Vessel, residing at Bridgewater, Nova Scotia have finally ended. After 18 years the HMS Cormorant left its Bridgewater, Nova Scotia home. On November 18, 2020, the vessel was towed down the LaHave river to the ocean on its way to Sheet Harbour, its final resting place. At Sheet Harbour, it will be taken apart piece by piece. The contract to remove contaminants, towing and demolition are worth 1.8 million dollars, a news release on Wednesday said.

Sheet Harbour is a small village on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Coast, Canada. It is situated approximately 117 km (73 mi) northeast of the central urban areas of Halifax and Dartmouth, in the eastern part of the Halifax Regional Municipality.

HMS Cormorant was decommissioned by the Canadian Navy on July 2 1997 and sold for diving operations to U.S. owners. In 1998, the ship was converted to an offshore support vessel, but the ship was docked and remained in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia in 2000.

On March 21, 2015, the ship sunk in the LaHave River due to the amount of ice on the river. In May 2015, because of the fear of pollution issues, (contaminated oil and oil/water remaining on the ship), the Canadian Coast Guard took charge of the salvage effort and refloated the Cormorant and reduced the ship’s list to 8 degrees at a cost of 1 million dollars.

The ownership of the vessel remained uncertain, with litigation alleging that the ship is owned and thus responsible for cleanup by a Texas-based corporation and the Port of Bridgewater. The Port of Bridgewater argued that the sinking of the vessel was due to sabotage and that the thru-hull valves of the ship were opened. Due to the ongoing court battle, the ship remained laid up in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

In December 2019, 19,000 litres of oily bilge water was removed from the Cormorant because the Canadian Coast Guard confirmed this to be an environmental danger and to stop the vessel from further listing in the LaHave River.

Cormorant was an important part of the expedition in November 1994 to retrieve the ship’s bell from the Lake Superior wreck of SS Edmund Fitzgerald.

The general feeling of people in Bridgewater, including officials, is delight that the ship is gone, although there are views that it should have been sunk to create an artificial reef.



About Author

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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