On Monday October 6, I was amongst the group of individuals who were invited to the beautiful island of Scatarie, to get a site tour around the wreck of the M.V. Miner.
At 8:45 AM, we left the Coastal Discovery Centre and met at the Main-A-Dieu harbour, where two vessels (one bought by the contracted company, and another, an upgraded local fishing vessel which had the correct permits in place to legally transport individuals to the site) were awaiting to commence the approximate 40 minute boat ride. The sun was shining, and skies were as blue as the ocean we rode out on, to reach our arch nemesis – The M.V. Miner.
As we approached the island, the first bit of activity we saw was the enormous crane they were using to transport scraps from inside the ship. At this point, you could not see the ship itself, but only the massive arm of the crane moving back-and-forth. As we turned the corner and began to see the Miner, the view was astonishing. The 222 meter wrecked-ship was really a sight to see with your own eyes – pictures and video do not do it justice.
Five people at a time were transported from the two vessels (which brought almost 20 people to the wreck), in a small motorized boat. The boat then had to drive through an opening of the ship, which was one of the most amazing views for me. To drive through it really gave a sense of how massive this ship really is and to see how much it has deteriorated out over the last three years was truly breath-taking.
Once everyone was on dry-land, had signed in at the main office, and put their proper safety equipment on, we commenced a tour around the camp-site. We were shown their kitchen area, where cook Jackie Kennedy was preparing the meal for the evening (which was haddock, may I add). We were able to walk amongst the camp, where each trailer served a purpose (bathrooms, showering areas, living quarters, offices, etc).
It wasn’t long after scouting the camp that we were able to walk around and view all of the heavy equipment on the island. The piece that stood out to me were the shears which they will soon be cutting the ship apart with: as I have never seen such massive shears for cutting metal before. When dealing with the size of the ship, however, I should not have been as surprised.
We were then invited to take a tour on the bow of the Miner, where everyone seemed to sense the same “ghostly, abandoned feel”, as they walked through the chambers. “It was truly an experience in itself” said Sean Howard, representative of the Main-A-Dieu Community Development Association, “the wreck is so monstrous, and this is why we fought so hard for so long, even when we thought it was a lost cause”.
Minister of Transport, Geoff MacLellan, summed up the Governments’ commitment to the project: “For us to just leave this vessel rotting here, wouldn’t be responsible” explained MacLellan, “it’s never been fair for taxpayers to foot this bill alone, and I hope that the Minister (Raitt) will take those things into consideration, and to still take a look at the M.V. Miner file to see where they can help out financially, but in the long run, really take a hard look into the Canada Shipping License”.
-Julian O’Neil, Program Coordinator with the MCDA.