The vessel that was once considered the flagship of the controversial marine conservation group Sea Shepherd is now threatening the Nova Scotia coast after the ship sank Wednesday night and is leaking.
The RV Farley Mowat sank early Wednesday while tied up in Shelburne Harbor, Nova Scotia after springing a leak. According to reports as much as 600 feet of containment boom has been placed around the vessel to prevent the spread of oil. Canada’s CBC also reports that five to six oil drums were on board when the ship sank, and only two have been accounted for.
The 1950’s-built RV Farley Mowat was originally purchased by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in 1997 and given the name Sea Shepherd III – then Ocean Warrier in 1999. The vessel’s name was later changed to Farley Mowat in 2002 in honor of the late Canadian writer Farley Mowat – The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float
The ship served as the group’s flagship until it was seized by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans in April 2008 over Fisheries Act violations during the seal hunt off the west coast of Newfoundland. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Captain Paul Watson have always disputed the seizure.
The vessel was later sold by the government to a private over before ending up in the hands of a scrap dealer in 2013. The ship was towed Shelburne in the fall of 2014 and has since been accumulating unpaid docking fees.
In series of statements posted to Facebook, Captain Paul Watson blamed the incident on the Canadian Coast Guard and Department of Transport for neglecting inspections of the ship, and particularly one government official’s decision to seize the ship in the first place, a decision Watson says has ended up costing the Canadian government a lot of money.
Earlier this month, the Sea Shepherd welcomed a new Farley Mowat to its fleet, a 110-foot former USCG Island-class fast patrol vessel purchased by the Society in January 2015.
“There are some who blame Sea Shepherd for the problems the ship has caused and continues to cause but it is not our fault that the Canadian government tried to extort $75,000 to return a ship to us that was not worth $75,000 to us to receive,” Watson wrote on Facebook.
“And now we have a new Farley Mowat to carry on Farley’s great name at sea while the ghost of the old Farley Mowat continues to haunt the port of Shelburne,” he added.
Watson wrote that the ship had over 100 voyages with Sea Shepherd, including 51 as the Farley Mowat.
Here’s some video from the scene from the CBC: