Wayne Elliott of Marine Recycling Corp. of
Port Colborne, Ont. wants to make lemonade out of the
massive and mangled lemon that is the 230-metre freighter MV Miner grounded on . Scatarie Island
“We have salvaged shipwrecks before, so sure, if the opportunity comes we may have our hat in the ring for that,” said Elliott. “But more vessels for recycling at Sydport is what we are looking at.”
Elliott made the news earlier in the week when he said he had emailed an informal proposal to Marine Atlantic to recycle the 2 ferries the Crown corporation was divesting itself of earlier this year and which ultimately ended up at a notoriously unsafe shipbreaking yard in Alang, India. Elliott hadn’t submitted a formal bid on the 2 ships; no Canadian company did.
Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking took up the cause during question period on Wednesday.
“We have found out that Marine Atlantic has sold 2 ferries to a company in
when there was a Canadian company who bid on the job to dismantle these ships
in ,” Eyking said. “Not only have we
lost 50 good-paying trade jobs, this would have been a great economic boost for
our local industry. Why is this prime minister letting yet another minister
bleed jobs out of Atlantic Canada?” Cape Breton
Unfortunately, it appears as if Eyking was confused on a number of points. Marine Atlantic didn’t sell the ferries to a company in
India, but instead sold them through a broker to
separate firms based in 2 small island nations, which in turn sold them to
one company in .
There was no call for bids to dismantle the ships, only to sell them. And no
Canadian company submitted a bid to buy the boats. India
And was Eyking basing his statement that “we lost 50 good-paying trade jobs” solely on Elliott’s say-so? It’s one thing to come out against real job losses such as those expected at local Service Canada centres, but how can one “bleed” jobs that never existed?
If Eyking thinks Elliott’s proposal to recycle ships at Sydport is sound, he should articulate how it would work, because it raises a lot of questions.
The MV Miner is unique in that it’s a sitting (wounded) duck. It has to be broken down on site and so there’s no reason why a Canadian company, such as Marine Recycling Corp., shouldn’t be able to submit a competitive bid to do that work.
But can a Canadian outfit compete with other shipbreaking companies around the world in terms of vessels that can be transported? And we don’t mean unregulated yards such as that found in Alang, India (no Canadian boat should end up there), but firms that adhere to guidelines set out by the IMO.
And Elliott suggests that his company would like to take advantage of the $25-billion federal shipbuilding contract recently awarded to the
Irving shipyard in , in that his
company can recycle the old ships the new ones will replace. But how many years
will it be before the first of the new warships will be completed? And will
there be no market for the old boats as functioning vessels? Halifax
There’s so reason why old vessels shouldn’t be recycled at Sydport. But those backing such a proposal need to put forward a coherent, well-reasoned plan as to how it would work
Post. 5 November