Fogo Island resident commends coast guard for work on Manolis L

Josh Pennell
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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.


Organizations: Band-Aid

Geographic location: Fogo Island, Change Islands

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Recent comments

  • Carolyn R Parsons
    January 27, 2014 - 14:48

    Coast Guard's work is to be commended. They are in a terrible position, having to be in the middle of, and pay for, the monitoring of this situation. The Environment Minister needs to apply to treasury for funding from The Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund so Coast Guard can remove the oil once and for all. DFO shouldn't be bearing the burden of this financially whatsoever particularly in light of all their recent budget cuts. What a waste of their talents, commitment and resources to be monitoring and responding to a situation that should have been remedied last summer. Should they be watched by residents? Absolutely. Should they be questioned about their actions for clarification? Certainly. But when the reporting of sightings is left entirely to the untrained citizens who have had this situation unfolding for an entire year with no permanent resolution I doubt the priority of the residents is to focus on CCG PR. There is a bigger problem than that. It would be good to get the perspective of what this sort of situation feels like to a Change Island resident. Fogo Island hasn't had oil upon its shores--yet.

  • islandvoice
    January 27, 2014 - 06:51

    Oil has been sitting in this sunken ship for 28 years...that is a significant lack of action. Local residents are attempt to arrange testing of samples, a simple solution that wasn't considered by the Coast Guard. As always, government institutions need to understand the best way to deal with social media is to actually engage and respond, rather than forfeit completely. It was their lack of response that brought major concern among the online community.