Derelict & Abandoned Vessels in Canadian Waters: Legal Options

Sarah is in Toronto to attend and present at the Coastal Zone Conference 2016. A brief overview of her presentation entitled Derelict & Abandoned Vessels in Canadian Waters: Legal Options is below. To discuss the legal options she proposes, contact Sarah directly to discuss options for specific situations.

The phenomenon of derelict vessels is a recurring challenge for coastal communities. Unseaworthy ships sometimes arrive unannounced; at other times they simply outstay their welcome. Either way, the presence of these vessels threatens the integrity of local economies and marine ecosystems. This is a problem that must be dealt with.

Regrettably, Canadian law surrounding the clean-up of derelict vessels is murky at best. According to federal law and policy, the onus remains on the named owner of a vessel to take responsibility and spearhead the removal process, however many registered owners simply refuse to step up. This unresponsiveness is often explained by burdensome personal and financial histories, which become common backdrops for the condition and circumstances of derelict vessels. Endeavouring to track down the registered owner of a derelict vessel and force him or her to accept responsibility can be expensive and unproductive.

Recognizing these challenges, Sarah suggests the use of some existing legal tools for dealing with derelict and abandoned vessels while highlighting practical gaps and limitations. Drawing upon her experience as a marine lawyer, Sarah shares strategies for working within the current legislative framework to find real solutions and minimize risk, and provides suggestions for legislative and policy development.

For more information, please contact Sarah by phone or e-mail: 902.209.6537 | sarah@cslegal.ca

 

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