Canadian Federal Judge Stops Plan to Sink Former Navy Vessel HMCS Annapolis Into Sea; Ship’s Paint Could Be Toxic to Environment

By @ibtimesau on
The retired U.S. aircraft carrier Oriskany sinks after the U.S. Navy blasted holes in it off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, sending the warship to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico as the world's largest intentionally created artificial reef, May 17
The retired U.S. aircraft carrier Oriskany sinks after the U.S. Navy blasted holes in it off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, sending the warship to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico as the world's largest intentionally created artificial reef, May 17, 2006. The 888-foot ship took about 37 minutes to sink below the surface. [After 25 years of service to the Navy in operations in Korea, Vietnam and the Mediterranean, ex-Oriskany will now benefit marine life, sport fishing and recreation diving off the coast of the Florida panhandle REUTERS/Jeffrey P. Kraus/U.S.

Plans to sink a former Canadian Navy vessel into the sea and turn it into an artificial reef has been stalled by a federal court judge, on claims on the ship's paint could be toxic to the environment. The former HMCS Annapolis was planned to be sunk off B.C.'s coast on Tuesday.

But on Monday, an unidentified Federal Court judge ordered the ship must not be moved at its present location at Long Bay, effectively putting on hold the sinking plans. The judge said all concerned must wait until an injunction is heard on Jan 27.

Environment Canada had granted a permit for the sinking of the HMCS Annapolis to turn in into an artificial reef for divers and marine life. But the Save Halkett Bay Marine Park Society is against it, based on test results conducted by an independent laboratory on the vessel. It said a paint sample from the 1960s former helicopter-carrying destroyer yielded highly toxic compounds that could eventually be harmful to the immediate environment and marine life down under.

The HMCS Annapolis was supposed to be sunk this weekend in a protected marine park in Howe Sound on Gambier Island this weekend, making it the eighth artificial reef in B.C., according to CBC News. Howie Robins, the president of the Artificial Reef Society of B.C., said the HMCS Annapolis had been meticulously cleaned since 2008 of hazardous and pollutant materials in compliance with federal regulations. "It's a whole new opportunity for recreational scuba adventure and we are thrilled to have it so close to Vancouver," CBC News quoted Robins. 

The Save Halkett Bay Marine Park Society maintained the clean-up efforts weren't enough, as the independent laboratory still found evidences of the highly toxic tributyltins. Banned by international treaties, the compound is commonly used in marine anti-fouling paints to stop organisms from attaching to hulls. Martin Peters, lawyer for the Save Halkett Bay Marine Park Society, said the injunction will be argued upon on Jan 27. 

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