The diesel-carrying barge sitting at the bottom of the ocean doesn’t pose much of a risk, according to a report released yesterday.

The Shovel Master, owned by J.D. Irving Ltd. sank 80 kilometres south of Yarmouth on Nov. 22. It faltered in rough seas as it was being towed to Halifax.

In a statement, J.D. Irving spokesman Geoff Britt said the company submitted a report written by a third-party expert to the Regional Environmental Emergency Team (REET) yesterday.


“The authors of the report conclude that the risk of the sunken barge being the source of an incident resulting in significant environmental or economic impacts is judged to be extremely low,” Britt said.

The conclusion was taken from data gathered by an unmanned submarine which examined the wreck on Nov. 30. The dredging barge has 70,000 litres of diesel aboard.

In an interview, Britt said initial fly-overs discovered only two-to-five litres of sheen on the water from spilled fuel.

“There hasn’t been a sighting of any leakage for quite some time,” he said. “Even when we did the underwater survey, there was no sign of leakage at all from the gas tank.”

It hasn’t been decided yet what will be done with the barge. Britt said discussions between J.D. Irving and REET are ongoing.

He said he didn’t know what the potential cost would be to raise the wreck.

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