A Fogo Island resident is praising the work the Canadian Coast Guard has done on the sunken paper carrier Manolis L while suggesting that people should be more careful about what they post online.
Barry Brinson’s comments come a week after the coast guard finished placing a new cofferdam on the ship that sunk near Change Islands in the mid 1980s.
A cofferdam traps oil leaking from the ship and can itself be drained when desired.
“It looks good, I must say,” says Brinson.
Oil from the vessel started to surface last fall and winter. The coast guard placed a neoprene seal on one area of the hull and a cofferdam on another. The first cofferdam slipped letting spill the oil it had collected. The coast guard then worked with a naval architect to design a cofferdam that could withstand the specific ocean conditions at the site of the Manolis L’s underwater home.
It was only a few days after its installation that the coast guard received reports of oil at nearby Morey’s Harbour and Main Tickle. Photos of discolored water and ice began circulating Facebook and Twitter.
The coast guard called Brinson early Friday morning to ask if he had seen anything. He hadn’t, and he said he figured — given the area it was being reported in — that it was just runoff from a nearby brook. The coast guard investigated with a fast rescue craft and a helicopter. No oil sheens were observed in the area of the Manolis L, nor was any oil seen near the shoreline of Morey’s Harbour and Main Tickle.
They did find considerable mud and silting.
The coast guard issued a statement with its findings and said the discolouriation depicted in the circulated photos was due to sediment run-off, likely as a result of significant rainfall in recent days.
While mistaking run-off for oil is innocent enough, Brinson says, people shouldn’t be so hasty as to include criticism of the coast guard when they post such things online.
“I think they’ve done an awesome job, I really do. And you don’t get credit from me if I don’t think it. You pretty much got to earn it. And I think they’ve earned it,” he says. “People is gonna have to be careful what they’re complaining about or taking pictures of and putting on this Facebook.”
Brinson has fished in the area of the Manolis L and knows it’s a tricky spot of water to work in. With all that said, like everybody else in the community, Brinson wants the government to know the oil has to be pumped out of the Manolis L for good.
“We still wants it pumped out. This is only a Band-Aid solution, really.”
In the meantime, Brinson would like to see people commend the coast guard for what it has been able to do, and not cry wolf too often.