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Fuel spilled from former ferry into Charlottetown Harbour

The Ancier was tied up at the dock in Charlottetown Tuesday morning. (Stacey Janzer/CBC - image credit)
The Ancier was tied up at the dock in Charlottetown Tuesday morning. (Stacey Janzer/CBC - image credit)

A fuel spill reported in Charlottetown Harbour was the result of a problem during the refuelling of an old Îles-de-la-Madeleine ship.

On Sunday afternoon the Canadian Coast Guard received a report from the public regarding a sheen on the Hillsborough River, one of three rivers that feeds into Charlottetown Harbour.

The coast guard confirmed the sheen was fuel.

In a news release Tuesday afternoon the coast guard said the source of the fuel was the MV Ancier, currently docked in the harbour. The coast guard said the ship's owner contacted an organization that placed containment booms around it in order to contain the spill.

"[The coast guard] is still on site and is working with partners to ensure and maintain an appropriate response to the incident," the news release said.

It is not known how much fuel was spilled.

A boom was set in the water to contain the spill.
A boom was set in the water to contain the spill.

A boom was set in the water to contain the fuel spill from the MV Ancier. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

In an email to CBC News, Environment Canada says its National Environmental Emergencies Centre was notified of the spill.

"NEEC has assessed the situation and is supporting the response by providing information on environmental resources like wildlife and sensitive ecosystems," the email said.

The centre will continue to monitor the situation, the email said.

Allison MacKinnon of nearby Mermaid said he could smell a strong odour of diesel when he took his dog out Sunday morning. He went down to the shore later in the day and saw a sheen on the water that he believed was oil.

He said he could still smell it on Tuesday.

"It's not nearly as strong as it was the first day, on Sunday, when I first smelled it."

Destined for scrap

The Ancier was formerly the MV Vacancier, a cruise ship/car ferry that ran between Montreal and Îles-de-la-Madeleine and was operated by the Coopérative de Transport Maritime et Aérien (CTMA).

The ship travelled that route from 2002 to 2019.

The Ancier was built in 1973. Since its last sailing in October 2019 it has been kept seaworthy so it would be more readily available for sale, says CTMA.

The ship was sold in December.