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Feds issue just 2 fines in 4 years for abandoned boats. Critics say it’s not enough

The federal government has been heated over the effectiveness of a law targeting abandoned ships on the British Columbia coast.

Canada enacted the Wrecked, Abandoned and Dangerous Ships Act in 2019.

But in the four years since the law took effect, only two people have been fined under it, including the owner of a 27-foot-long cabin cruiser. Akuwas abandoned in Cadaboro Bay and fined $15,000.

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VPD cracks down on abandoned boats at False Creek

There are an estimated 1,700 boats on the national abandoned ship register, 1,200 of which are in British Columbia.

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“The number of derelict and abandoned ships lining our coasts continues to grow,” said Nanaimo Ladysmith NDP MP Lisa Baron.

Barron is proposing a private legislative bill aimed at amending federal law to create landfill programs that identify owners and help them take the right course of action.

Abandoned ships, when left unattended, pollute marine ecosystems, impacting food security and coastal communities in many ways, Barron said.

“It costs a lot less to deal with the problem from the beginning than to wait for it to subside,” she says.

“So what my bill ultimately asks is to prevent these ships from sinking in the first place and to ask Liberal governments to implement strategies to clean up these ships because we Because at the pace we’re going, we’re not going to.” Watch these ships cleanse at the required rate. “

Click to play video: 'Transport Canada removes several derelict boats from False Creek'

Transport Canada to remove several derelict boats from False Creek

John Law, director of the Dead Boat Disposal Association, has spoken openly about the potential consequences of boat owners improperly disposing of their property, despite the lack of fines. He said the federal law is already taking effect.

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But he said more action was needed, including a coordinated campaign to clean up the marine environment littered with abandoned ships, garbage and debris.

“Do a proper survey and take out the tires, the batteries, the ghost nets, the garbage, the boats. I was. “We know where a lot of them are. We know where to look for more information. finds 5 boats…

“Look at the $33 billion they are spending on pipelines. .”

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Federal government announces new laws governing abandoned and derelict boats

Canadian Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said in a statement that the federal government had removed 556 abandoned boats across the country since 2016 under the Marine Conservation Plan.

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It added that the Canadian Coast Guard announced the start of its compliance and enforcement program on July 6, including the issuance of fines and penalties.

Transport Canada has a responsibility to work with shipowners to address “irresponsible ship management,” the statement continued, adding that if the owner cannot be identified or if the vessel is deemed to pose a significant risk, the coastal It added that the security forces would take action.

“The Canadian Coast Guard is focused on assessing the risks associated with each reported vessel and prioritizing actions to rehabilitate high-risk vessels,” the ministry said.

“We are focused on reducing the risk each vessel poses. When a vessel is in imminent danger of pollution, the Canadian Coast Guard responds quickly and protects the environment. We will take further steps to address the vessel in order of priority based on risk level.”

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Dozens of Abandoned Boats on False Creek

Mr Barron said the current law is a good start to address the issue.

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But she said the response has been too slow and there are regulatory gaps that need to be filled, including government support for recycling programs that incentivize owners to treat their ships properly.

“This is clearly not enough. What I hear from people is that if the process of identifying who the ship owner is takes a long time, the ship owner cannot be held accountable. It just means we have to have the right resources in place, and there is a delay in getting it done,” she said.

Low, who led the cleanup of Victoria’s canyons and harbors decades ago, said his experience showed what was possible.

“We can do it, we did it,” he said. “And we can do that statewide.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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