The plan to sink a large Canadian destroyer in Howe Sound has been stalled due to environmental concerns over the vessels’ exterior paint.
The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia (ARSBC) owns the HMCS Annapolis and received approval from Environment Canada to tow the warship from Port Graves to Halkett Bay Marine Provincial Park on Gambier Island for sinking into an artificial reef.
Towing was scheduled for today and the sinking on Saturday, but an activist group called the Save Halkett Bay Marine Park Society (SHBMP) successfully received an injunction from a federal court on Monday to overrule Environment Canada’s decision.
The vessel cannot be moved and sunk until after injunction court hearing on January 27, and the SHBMP is aiming to permanently halt all plans to sink the aluminum superstructure 30-metres in the waters of Howe Sound.
It claims that laboratory tests done on the Annapolis’ paint chips contained tributyltins, a highly toxic compound that prevents organisms from growing on the hull.
However, the ARSBC says the vessel has been thoroughly cleaned of all toxic substances and materials. Beginning in 2008, volunteers removed and recycled 250 tons of material that could be hazardous, leaving only the superstructure of the vessel for the sinking.
In addition to providing a major diving attraction near Metro Vancouver, proponents hoped the HMCS Annapolis would help restore rockfish and lingcod species in Howe Sound.
Feature Image: DeepDiverBC via Scubaboard