Saturday, 26 September 2015


We are constantly getting new people asking questions about Manolis L situation. Here are a few of the common questions.

What is the Manolis L? Manolis L is a paper carrier that sunk with a full load of cargo in January 1985 after going aground at Blow Hard Rock in Notre Dame Bay. It still sits at the bottom of the ocean with between 500,000 and 600,000 liters of fuel in her hull.

Why is this a concern now? Two years ago during a storm the hull began leaking. It has continued leaking in spite of remediation attempts by the Coast Guard. To our knowledge there are 5 leaks in the hull. 4 have temporary seals and 1 is covered by a cofferdam which collects the oil and is emptied twice a year.

Why aren't the current measures enough? To date they haven't worked. The seals fix a leak then a new one breaks out polluting the ocean. The cofferdam has shifted in the past causing a catastrophic spill. Much of the time the weather and sea conditions are such that nothing can be done when oil spills. Even the operations that empty the cofferdam have been delayed by marine conditions. And there have been spills from the cofferdam during both operations when they emptied it. A new leak was discovered as recent as late November 2014. Oiled seals and birds were seen late December and in January 2015. When the area is covered in ice we cannot know the situation.

Can the oil be removed? Yes. The committee has spoken with experts and there are methods of removal.

Why won't the government remove the oil? We do not know.

Is the issue money? The committee was under the impression that money was the problem however in the past six years nearly a billion dollars has gone unspent by DFO and sent back to the treasury. A fund called SOPF is designed for such a situation as this but our inquiries have had a response that indicates we are time barred from qualifying for those funds.

What will the cost be? This is an unknown. Documents that contain and estimate requested by DFO have the cost blacked out. The Zalinski operation in BC had a budget allotted of 50 million dollars but Gail Shea, minister of DFO indicates that it cost less. She didn't reveal the final tally.

Why won't the owners pay? Isn't it their responsibility? Why do the taxpayers have to? Through much investigation we recently discovered that a settlement was made between the Liberian owners of the Manolis L and the Government of Canada in 1992. This resulted in those owners being released from any further responsibility and left the Government of Canada as the owner of Manolis L. We do not have details of the settlement amount or documents that prove this to be so but that is what documents provided by DFO to our committee indicate is the case.

How rusty is she? Are we sure she will get worse? She is very rusty after 30 years. She is made of cheap thin steel with even thinner steel on the internal supporting structures. The tides and seas in the area are causing stress fractures to form. The hull was only 1/2 inch thick to start. The integrity of the internal structures are unknown but experts say this is the beginning of a rapid period of deterioration.

Isn't bunker c solid in cold water? Experts have checked temperature buoys and the depth of the vessel combined with the water temperatures, which are rising, and have ascertained that this Bunker C becomes liquid as the water warms up. It also mixes with the diesel and that liquifies it as well.

What is the Manolis L Citizen's Response Committee? We are a group of concerned citizens who have organized to lobby to have a permanent solution implemented. We consist of a small group of core members and a large group of affiliated and concerned people including experts in marine biology, oil spills, naval architecture and so on. We are all volunteers. We work on this daily in some way, traveling to meetings and meeting with officials and so on. We are committed to this task.

What will the economical effects be? The entire Notre Dame Bay/Hamilton Sound region will be destroyed ending all fishing, tourism and essentially closing this already vulnerable region. This bay contains rich fishing grounds that sustain the main industry in the area.Collateral damage will be felt throughout the entire province. The ripple effect from destruction of every industry in the threatened communities will cause a catastrophic economic disaster. This will also be a black mark on the country. This will be the largest oil spill in Canadian history and the government will have failed to prevent it.

What will the environmental costs be? In addition to the cod, scallops, shrimps etc in the area the salmon that swim up the fresh water rivers also go through these waters. It is the resting place for many different kinds of sea birds including some that are threatened species and would affect the large sea bird sanctuary located at the Funk Islands which is directly in its path. These birds stop here on their way to places like Nunavut where they are hunted as their country food. This highlights what a far reaching impact a spill will have. The bay is home of the world famous Iceberg Alley and is rich with marine life including humpbacks,orcas, minkes and other whales, giant sea turtles, seals, porpoises and so on.

What is the Art Exhibit?  Over the past year several public events have been held to raise awareness and to allow for commentary and voices to be heard over this matter, that the public feels is a very important one. These include a march, an auction and a concert. With the area being so rich with visual artists, an exhibit was considered an appropriate way to allow their voices to be included. The opportunity to exhibit at the Rogue Gallery at Gallery at the Edge presented itself and co-chair David McConkey organized the event to be held November 7, 2015.  The opening of this event also provides an opportunity for Professor Ian Jones and Kevin Strowbridge to present the scientific analysis that backs up the committee's contention that the only resolution is the remove the oil from Manolis L as a permanent solution.

What can I do to help? Get to know the issue, send letters to Federal Minister Gail Shea of DFO and Minister Leona Aglukkaq of the Environment. Participate in the auction, spread the word and be assured that we are very grateful for your questions and concerns.

How can I find out more? Message us here with any questions or email

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