News

1. Tidal generation failure costs mount

The abandoned tidal turbine. Photo: Cape Sharp Tidal

Losses continue to mount related to the failed tidal generation project in the Minas Basin.

The Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy Inc. (FORCE), the company established to provide test sites for other companies to try out instream turbines in the Minas Basin, is suing five companies for damages to a subsea cable that ran from the test site to land.

The five companies named as defendants are Cape Sharp Tidal Ventures Ltd., the French company Naval Energies, and three interconnected Ireland-based companies — OpenHydro Group Limited, OpenHydro Technology Limited, and OpenHydro Technology Canada Ltd. Naval Technologies was the parent company of OpenHydro, and dissolved OpenHydro on July 26. Cape Sharp, in turn, was a joint venture between Emera and OpenHydro.

Cape Sharp deployed the now-failed tidal turbine at one of four test sites prepared by FORCE. The other three test sites remain unoccupied.

Open Hydro is still going through bankruptcy proceedings; it’s not clear that it has any assets.

At issue in the FORCE lawsuit is Cable A, which runs south of Black Rock Island.

The Cape Sharp project was complex, and involved “multiple vessels,” reads FORCE’s statement of claim, including the Irving Beaver barge, which was owned and operated by Atlantic Towing and “was responsible for hub and tail installation and recovery, maintenance of connectors, and connection and disconnection operations.”

The statement details the damage done to Cable A:

From August 2015 through November 2016, OHTC [OpenHydro Technology Canada] used an anchor assembly to moor their lead tug during a series of marine operations. These marine operations included, among other things, positioning trials, cable recovery and the preparation of the eventual cable connection to the turbine.

The “Irving Beaver” was controlled by two Atlantic Towing owned tug boats — the “Atlantic Hemlock” and the “Atlantic Bear” — with the front tug anchored on a single mooring. This mooring was installed in August 2015, with a 9 ton stockless anchor (the “Anchor”). The purpose of the mooring was to assist in the positioning of the “Irving Beaver.”

During marine operations between August 2015 and May 2017, the Anchor slipped from its original position. From December 2015 to October 2016, the anchor was dragged approximately 100 metres along the seabed. In November 2016, when the turbine was being deployed at the test site, the Anchor was dragged an additional 50 metres away from its initial and intended position and became entangled with FORCE Cable A, cause [FORCE’s] losses.

FORCE says it wasn’t told of the cable entanglement until August 25, 2017, nine months after the incident.

FORCE doesn’t set a dollar figure to the damages, but clearly it will be large, as, according to the claim, FORCE now must use surveying boats to find and inspect the cable; untangle the cable from the anchor; figure out how to replace, repair, or move the cable back into position; and test the replaced/repaired cable. This will involve many boats and other operational costs. FORCE is additionally claiming damages for loss of business.

The claims haven’t been tested in court.

The statement of claim relates just how complex tidal operations are — powerful tides dragged the anchor this way and that, disrupting operations, and it appears the companies hired to do the work weren’t prepared for those powerful tides.

I suspect that FORCE’s claims for the damaged cable will cause potential future tidal operators and their subcontractors great pause — maybe this tidal thing is just too risky a proposition, especially if the companies are going to get sued when things go wrong.

2. Byelections

The PCs handily won all three byelections held yesterday.

3. Barho fire

The Barho family

Fire investigators have called a press conference at 1pm today to release an update on the Barho fire investigation.

4. Bridgewater interchange

Chronicle Herald reporter editor/reporter Chris Lambie cites an unnamed source to say that the McNeil government will announce $48 million in funding for a Bridgewater interchange on Highway 103. The interchange will access the Bridgewater Industrial Park, where there’s a Michelin plant.

5. Police fire gun at suspect

Photo: Halifax Examiner

A police release from 1:15am this morning:

Earlier this evening, Halifax Regional Police officers were responding to a situation involving a male and a female suspect in a stolen vehicle in Dartmouth, which led to the discharge of an HRP officer’s firearm.

At approximately 7:45 p.m., 3 September, HRP members were investigating a complaint of a stolen vehicle on Brule Street in Dartmouth, and were following the two suspects. The suspect vehicle collided with police vehicles nearly striking involved officers. To stop the vehicle from striking anyone, one of the police officers fired their service pistol at the vehicle. Immediately following that, the two suspects are believed to have fled in the vehicle from the scene to a location on Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth.

They are believed to have fled on foot from there and continue to be at large. At this time, there is no indication of an injury to either of the suspects or any of the police officers or members of the public as a result of the incident or the firearm discharge. Police are currently searching for the suspects. The incident is currently being investigated by the General Investigation Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division.

HRP consulted the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT), but this incident did not meet their threshold.  A further update will be provided when available.

6. Right whales

Researchers from the Marine Animal Response Society examining one of the dead right whales. Photo: Marine Animal Response Society

“For years, fishermen off the U.S. east coast have faced tight restrictions on fishing gear and vessel speed restrictions to ensure their activities do not harm marine mammals, including the endangered North Atlantic right whale,” reports Olivia Blackmore for the Canadian Press:

But in Canada, it was only after right whales began turning up dead in large numbers in 2017, many of them tangled in fishing gear and struck by vessels, that authorities brought in emergency measures, and by then it was too late to avoid a record number of deaths.

After another summer of high mortality for right whales in Canadian waters, questions are being asked about whether Canada’s slow response to the crisis could still be taking a toll. And with a deadline approaching for exporting countries to respect new marine mammal protection legislation in the United States, the inaction could end up harming Canadian fisheries.


Government

City

Wednesday

North West Planning Advisory Committee (Wednesday, 7pm, in the Centre named after a bank, 61 Gary Martin Drive, Bedford) — WM Fares wants to build a commercial building in Sackville.

Thursday

Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee (Thursday, 1pm, City Hall) — the committee wants the city to “convert a portion of the municipal fleet to electric vehicles and install charging stations at municipal facilities.”

Harbour East – Marine Drive Community Council (Thursday, 6pm, HEMDCC Meeting Space, Alderney Gate) — here’s the agenda.

Province

No public meetings for the rest of the week.


On campus

Dalhousie

Wednesday

No public events

Thursday

Lord Dalhousie Scholarly Panel Reception (Thursday, 6pm, Atrium, Life Sciences Research Institute) — we’re finally getting the release of the Lord Dalhousie project, I’m told.

Lisa Moore (Thursday, 7pm, Halifax Central Library) — Newfoundland-born author and winner of the 2019 Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award will talk.


In the harbour

Wednesday
05:00: Atlantic Sun, container ship, sails for New York
06:00: JPO Aries, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Lisbon, Portugal
07:30: Adventure of the Seas, cruise ship with up to 4,058 passengers, arrives at Pier 22 from Bar Harbor, on a six-day roundtrip cruise out of New York
09:00: USN New Hampshire, US Navy nuclear submarine, arrives at Shearwater
10:00: Onego Traveller, cargo ship, arrives at Sheet Harbour from Altamira, Mexico
16:30: JPO Aries sails for New York
17:30: Adventure of the Seas sails for New York
18:00: Atlantic Swordfish, barge, sails from IEL to sea

Thursday
07:30: USS Gridley, US Navy destroyer, arrives at NB4
07:45: HMS Northumberland, British (for the time being) Navy frigate, arrives at NC5(2)
08:15: HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian Navy frigate, arrives at NH2 PST
08:30: USS Jason Dunham, US Navy destroyer, arrives at NB4(2)
09:15: BNS LEOPOLD, Belgium Navy frigate, arrives at Berth TBD
10:00: NRP Francisco de Almeida, Portuguese Navy frigate, arrives at Dockyard
10:30: USNS Patuxent, US Navy replenishment vessel, arrives at Berth TBD from Norfolk
11:30: HNLMS Van Speijk, Netherlands Navy frigate, arrives at Dockyard
13:30: HDMS Peter Willemoes, Denmark Navy frigate, arrives at Dockyard


Footnotes

I’ll be on The Sheldon MacLeod Show, News 95.7, at 2pm.

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Re Bridgewater Interchange: The McNeil government never ceases to amaze. It’s almost as if they go out of their way to spend our money on useless things without doing anything that would actually be good for the public. I spend a lot of time in various parts of the province and quite often I find myself using an interchange and/or a very expensive roundabout in the middle of nowhere. While rural communities continue to shrink, the province continues to build infrastructure as if the place is a boomtown. I can assure you that there are no traffic problems in Bridgewater that could be remediated by another interchange.
    You know what would help keep our rural communities intact, Steve? Decent healthcare, high-speed internet, efforts to address poverty, food insecurity and a lack of affordable housing. Ah, but that would require mandarins and cabinet ministers to roll up their sleeves and actually do some hard work. Face it, it’s a lot easier to just throw money at Dexter Construction and their ilk.

    1. A great analysis of what would bring rural NS into the Canadian mainstream, particularly healthcare insufficiency
      and internet that predominates that is vintage 1990 dial-up.
      John Barry ex Lunenburg Co.

    2. “Expensive roundabouts.” As opposed to expensive signalized intersections that impede the flow of traffic, aggravate air pollution, add greenhouse gases, lead to more (and more serious) accidents, and waste fossil.derived gasoline and diesel fuel.

      This intersection sounds unnecessary. We should stop twinning and start repairing existing bridges and secondary roads, many of which are in appalling condition. But roundabouts have improved roadways everywhere they’ve been installed in NS.

    3. This is nuts. I 100% agree. Like the 120$ million twinning of exit 5-6, this is just a way of shuffling another 48$ million to Dexter and all the boys. WTF ??? I suppose I should be relieved that unlike the incomplete convention centre hotel or non existent ferry we’ve all paid for, dexter is a bit more reliable? 170 million $ Would fund 100 new family doctors for the South Shore for 4 years…