POLITICS
10/10/2011 03:42 EDT | Updated 12/10/2011 05:12 EST

Remaining oily water removed from stranded ship off Cape Breton: coast guard

SCATARIE ISLAND, N.S. - The coast guard says the remaining oily waste water has been removed from a badly damaged bulk carrier stranded off Cape Breton.

The coast guard declined a request for an interview but sent an email Monday saying that all tanks on the MV Miner have been examined and emptied.

Joe LeClair, superintendent of environmental response for the coast guard, said in an emailed statement that there are some oily sheens inside the engine room, but they are being contained by booms.

LeClair's statement said about 10,000 litres of marine diesel oil, lubricants and oily waste water have been removed from the vessel.

The MV Miner broke free while being towed last month and ran aground off Scatarie Island, a provincially designated wilderness management area.

There have been repeated attempts to free the 230-metre retired freighter, but the vessel won't budge.

The emailed statement from the coast guard said the vessel remains largely intact, but there are several large openings on the starboard side.

It also said that a shoreline assessment done on Saturday found no evidence of oil pollution, and that Transport Canada will fly an oil pollution detection aircraft over the site on Tuesday.

The ship, which once carried coal, ore and grain on the Great Lakes, was on its way from Montreal to Turkey to be scrapped when it ran into trouble.

In an affidavit filed with the Federal Court, the Nova Scotia government says the salvage and cleanup costs associated with removing the vessel could hit $24 million if the ship breaks up.

The Nova Scotia government has also filed a statement of claim against the tug owners for $15 million, or the amount it would cost to remove the ship from the rocks and clean up the area.

The claims have not been proven in court and the owners have 30 days to file a statement of defence.