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New Brunswick Southwest Conservative MP John Williamson (left) and Kings Centre Progressive Conservative MLA Bill Oliver are calling on Ottawa to immediately remove the sunken "Not a Starship" vessel from the Saint John River. Image: Facebook/John Williamson

Remove sunken vessel from Saint John River: MP and MLA

By Brad Perry May 6, 2024 | 4:51 AM

A wrecked vessel along the Saint John River is raising the ire of many locals, including provincial and federal politicians.

“Not a Starship” sank in the Browns Flat area, north of Saint John, in February after its owner left the boat in the river over the winter.

Now, the Conservative MP for New Brunswick Southwest and the Progressive Conservative MLA for Kings Centre are calling for Transport Canada to remove it.

John Williamson and Bill Oliver said evaluations by federal departments have underestimated the immediate risks posed by the boat.

“Visible evidence of the vessel’s diesel, generator fuel and battery fluid leaking into the river throughout the winter was not enough to convince federal officials that this wreck was abandoned,” said a joint statement from the two politicians.

“Now, its 17-metre mast pierces the water from the river’s bed posing a clear risk to unsuspecting boaters.”

The mast of the "Not a Starship" vessel pokes out of the Saint John River in the Browns Flat area. Image: Facebook/John Williamson

The vessel’s owner had been given until Tuesday, April 30, to remove it. With that deadline having passed, the politicians said it is time for Ottawa to act.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Transport Canada said officers assessed the vessel on Wednesday, the day after the removal deadline had passed.

Sau Sau Liu said the owner has taken initial steps to remove it by installing lift bags.

“Transport Canada remains engaged with the owner to ensure the removal of the vessel, which the owner is responsible for. Transport Canada officers will monitor progress and take enforcement actions if needed,” Liu said in the statement.

In the meantime, Transport Canada said the vessel has been marked with a yellow cautionary buoy and a navigational warning has been issued to ensure the safety of boaters.