HALIFAX: Federal funding is allowing the province to remove 14 vessels across Nova Scotia.

The federal Abandoned Boats Program is contributing $559,920 to remove damaged, unused or derelict vessels, with the provincial government adding another $33,700 for a total of $593,620.

According to the province, the vessels scheduled for removal include commercial and private vessels. Removals began in January and will continue throughout 2021, the province said, noting that requests for quotes to remove each of the 14 vessels are posted to the Nova Scotia government procurement website.

Abandoned vessel cleanup sites include Margaree Harbour in Inverness County; Ben’s Cove, Antigonish County; Drum Head, Guysborough County; and Lennox Passage in Richmond County.

Nova Scotia Lands Inc. spokesperson Trish Smith said in Margaree Harbour, a tender valued at $25,000 is out to remove a commercial fishing boat that “has been there for many years.”

In Ben’s Cove, Smith said a steel commercial barge has washed ashore, but no tender has been issued yet.

An old steel boiler is all that remains from a steel commercial vessel in Drum Head, Smith said, noting no tender is out.

In Lennox Passage, Smith said they are looking to remove a commercial fishing boat that can be found “just above the high water mark,” but this project has not been tendered.

Smith recalled that Department of Lands and Forestry staff engaged Nova Scotia Lands to help manage an abandoned vessels list they compiled over a number of years, then a federal program was launched to assess and potentially remove abandoned and/or derelict vessels.

“The vessels being assessed had to meet criteria set out by the Abandoned Boats Program through Transport Canada,” Smith explained. “The assessment process looked at the potential risk to the shoreline and community, as well as their unsightliness in the natural environment.”

While they establish the priority list, Smith said the province awarded four contracts that will address five vessels. She said the intention is to complete the list by the end of the year.

“We were very happy to receive the funding from the Abandoned Boats Program to do this work and clean up vessels around Nova Scotia,” said Nova Scotia Lands president Stephen MacIsaac. “This work will stop the environmental impacts these abandoned vessels have on the shoreline and communities.”