Owners of B.C. barge ordered to pay costs for its rescue and rehabilitation

The 60-metre barge broke free of its moorings in Howe Sound, during high winds in November 2014

The Federal Court of Canada says the owners of a derelict barge in Howe Sound have defaulted and must pay thousands in costs to the Canadian organization that funds the cleanup of marine pollution.

Patricia Wilson, her company Jacobson Marine and Industrial Design, and co-owner Steen Larsen, have been ordered to pay almost $138,000 plus interest to the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund.

The fund filed court action to recover its costs after the 60-metre barge Spudnik broke free of its moorings in Howe Sound, north of Vancouver, during high winds in November 2014.

The oil pollution fund’s online file of the incident shows the rusting vessel was adrift and in peril of running aground, potentially spilling some of the 6,500 litres of diesel and lube oil aboard.

Coast Guard officials quickly hired a tug to tow the barge to safety in New Westminster, where another firm was retained to remove all the contaminants aboard.

Administrators of the fund paid all the bills by October 2016 and successfully sought a default judgement against Wilson and Larsen for reimbursement under polluter-pay legislation when the pair failed to respond to the court action.

“The Defendants have failed to make any payment to the plaintiff to date in satisfaction of the principal or the interest accrued thereon,” says the Federal Court judgement released Tuesday.

Wilson and Larsen have been found liable for expenses of $137,747 and interest of $3,891.17, while the judgement says further interest will accrue at a rate of 3 per cent per year.

The Canadian Press