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Contract awarded for bulk oil removal from Manolis L near Change Islands, NL

['The Liberian-tagged ship\u2008Manolis L, which sank near Change Islands in 1985, poses an environmental risk, say residents of the area who fear failure of a recently installed cofferdam or high seas breaking up the ship could spill the more than 500 tonnes of fuel it contained when it went down. — Telegram file photo']
The Manolis L, pictured here while sinking near Change Islands in 1985, poses an environmental risk due the potential release of oil still in its tanks say residents of the area. The federal government announced today it has awarded a $15.1 million contract for the removal of bulk oil from the wreck. — Telegram file photo

The federal government announced today it has awarded a $15.1 million contract for the removal of bulk oil from the Manolis L shipwreck near Change Islands in Notre Dame Bay.

The contract has been awarded to Ardent Global LLC. Work will begin in July.

The announcement is good news for communities along the province’s northeast that have been expressing concern for years about leakage from the bulk freighter that sank in 1985.

Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said protection of the marine environment and the safety of those at sea are top priorities for the Canadian Coast Guard. Dealing with this pollution threat, he said, supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to dealing with wrecked, abandoned and hazardous vessels.

“It is essential to remove the threat of pollution currently posed by the Manolis L,” LeBlanc said in a news release.

“We want to ensure that we have a healthy marine environment that can sustain important industries like fishing and tourism that our coastal communities and local economies rely on. We want future generations to have a great place to live and work.”

The Manolis L, which sank to a depth of more than 70 metres in 1985, lay dormant until April 2013 when cracks in the hull, coupled with a powerful storm, allowed some fuel oil to reach the surface. Since then the Canadian Coast Guard has been monitoring the Manolis L and conducting pollution containment operations.

The operation will remove all recoverable oil in the wreck, and significantly mitigate the threat of future oil leaks.

Planning is already underway and bulk oil removal operations are expected to begin in July.

The Manolis L was a bulk freighter carrying a load of paper when it sank in 1985. The wreck lies upside. Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response has conducted annual maintenance on the wreck to assess the condition of the hull and to contain the leaks. In 2016, a technical assessment determined that 115-150 cubic metres of oil remains trapped in the wreck. In addition, the Manolis L was carrying about 60 cubic metres of diesel fuel when it sank.

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