Annapolis Project Update
April 25, 2013
Dear Friends and supporters,
This week is international volunteer appreciation week, so on behalf of the ARSBC Board of Directors, thank you again for your continued support.
Since my last update to you on March 25, we were waiting for the results from Environment Canada on the outcome of the testing of the solid matrix paint and insulation samples taken from the ship in late January 2013. We have learned in conversations with EC that all of the samples have come back from lab testing and that their technical people are reviewing the results. At this time we really do not know the full story. It is important for you all to know that from our point of view, the environment always comes first over any other concern. I am sure you will all agree with our position.
Whatever the results, they will be measured against current policies and a final determination will be rendered in a report. The difficulty we face is in not knowing how long this process will take, and at present, the project is under severe financial stress. Government assures us that they are working toward a resolution of the question as fast as possible. This has been a very long and difficult project on several levels. Vessel insurance ran out at the end of January 2013 but the directors have dipped into their pockets to resume the insurance for the time being.
Through the hard work and dedication of you, the volunteers and dive industry, we were so very close to completing the project and were set for final inspection in November 2013. The passing of that inspection would have completed all our permitting requirements and it would have been possible to sink the ship by now.
It needs to be understood that if the ship cannot sink, it is because it is unfit for that purpose and discussions will take place on possible solutions, or the realization that the project will have to be terminated. If it is terminated the ARSBC understandably has to look at considering what options remain to legally dispose of the vessel. Although this is a last resort we remain hopeful of a positive report from Environment Canada that will allow the Artificial Reef Society to complete its mission.
However we now face another issue. WR Marine, our contractor, has commenced a legal proceeding against the ARSBC which was recently filed in federal court to arrest the ship before we even have a final determination from Environment Canada. The ARSBC is perplexed by this action, but will respond legally; however, this will no doubt adversely affect the project, and the efforts of over 1000 volunteers and the approximately 20,000 hours they spent preparing the ship. We regret informing you of this development - it surprised us too, but we will work hard to find a solution and deliver Annapolis as we hope to.