Manolis L - Update - December 2016

What’s New?

Environmental Response team on Manolis L
Environmental Response team on Manolis L

The Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response technical assessment of the Manolis L shipwreck was completed on September 5, 2016.

The report includes analysis of the locations and amounts of oil that remain in the wreck, as well as an assessment of hull integrity. 

When the Manolis L sank in 1985 it was estimated to be carrying 462 cubic metres of oil. The technical assessment indicates that 115-150 cubic metres of hydrocarbons remain trapped in the wreck. This represents 17% of the total capacity of the ship’s tanks at 868 cubic metres. In addition, the Manolis L was carrying about 60 cubic metres of diesel fuel when it sank.

During the technical assessment divers and specialized equipment were deployed to the Manolis L and the hull was drilled into at 31 locations. These areas were probed and sampled. 14 tanks/compartments were found to have at least traces of oil. A survey of the hull found very little deterioration in steel thickness (10% diminution) and the ship is stable on the seabed. 

To prevent further leaks and the threat of pollution from the wreck, the remaining oil aboard the Manolis L would have to be removed.

The technical assessment provides the necessary information that we need to make informed decisions; however, budgetary and logistics planning is required before a definitive timeline, cost and course of action can be determined.  Dealing with the pollution threat posed by the Manolis L will be determined through a tendering process.  Coast Guard will continue to monitor the wreck and respond as needed to the threat of pollution.



Environmental Response team on Manolis L

Earlier this year, the Government of Canada invited bids from experienced salvage/offshore contractors to assess the Manolis L wreck and determine where the tanks and bunkers are located and how much oil remains contained within the wreck.

A contract was awarded and the technical assessment began on August 1, 2016 and concluded on September 4, 2016. A final report from the contractor will be completed, for review by the Canadian Coast Guard, by fall 2016.

The technical assessment will provide detailed information on the wreck’s exact location and orientation and the condition of its hull. It will also identify the location and amount of contaminants that may be contained within the wreck. This is critical information for contractors to propose solutions for the wreck.

The Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response continues to conduct regular operations on the Manolis L surveying the hull and examining the integrity of the containment devices, including removing any oil collected in the cofferdam that was initially installed in October 2015.

Environmental Response team on Manolis L
Environmental Response team on Manolis L
Environmental Response team on Manolis L

Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response team on the water at the Manolis L during spring 2016 operations

Following the conclusion of the technical assessment on September 5, the Canadian Coast Guard conducted its regular inspection of the cofferdam with assistance from the on-site divers. A small amount of oil was found inside the cofferdam, well within its capacity and no further action was required. The next scheduled check of the cofferdam is Spring 2017.

The cofferdam and Coast Guard’s ongoing response for the Manolis L continue to be effective. Our response involves comprehensive monitoring and maintenance including regular site visits, aerial surveillance flights and planned cofferdam operations to remove any collected oil.


What happened to the Manolis L?

Bathymetric  map

Bathymetric map shows Blowhard Rocks, the location and depth of the MV Manolis L.

On January 15, 1985, the Liberian-flagged MV Manolis L, carrying a load of paper, ran aground on Blowhard Rocks and sank near Change Islands in Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland. The vessel lies in approximately 82 metres of water and is believed to contain up to 462 tons of fuel and 60 tons of diesel.

When the Manolis L sank, a small amount of oil was observed, but could not be recovered due to the winter sea ice conditions. Over the next 28 years, there were no reports of oil pollution at the site until an intense storm system in the area generated strong sub-surface ocean currents.

On March 31, 2013, the local Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response unit received reports of oil on the water. Their investigation discovered two cracks in the hull of the ship, one 22” and one 12”, in close proximity to each other, and each leaking a small quantity of oil.


What is the Canadian Coast Guard doing to monitor and prevent pollution from the Manolis L?

operations on the Manolis L CCGS George R. Pearkes and a barge carry out operations on the Manolis L.

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting our oceans from ship-sourced oil spills. Coast Guard, along with its partners, have regularly monitored the wreck of the Manolis L and have taken effective measures to mitigate the threat to the environment.

Upon discovery of the original leaks in March 2013, CCG contained the oil using weighted neoprene sealants and a cofferdam to catch small amounts of oil that might escape.

Occasionally, small releases of oil have been observed, but the frequency is sporadic and appears only to occur when there are increased undersea currents resulting from storm surges.

Since March 2013, CCG has successfully completed a number of underwater inspections of the hull and has taken measures to ensure the continued effectiveness of the neoprene seals and cofferdam. CCG monitors the Manolis L site through regular surveillance by its marine fleet and helicopters, and information obtained from Transport Canada and Provincial Aerospace Limited aerial observations.

In November 2014, a CCG Environmental Response team returned to the Manolis L to conduct a detailed survey of the hull, inspect the integrity of the oil containment sealants, remove any oil collected by the cofferdam and replace the cofferdam with a newer model. At the end of the operation in December 2014, the hull was stable and in good condition.  The operation included 15 Coast Guard Environmental Response personnel, who established a mobile incident command post in the community of Herring Neck. The operation included the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Ann Harvey equipped with a special purpose barge, five pollution response vessels, pollution response equipment, remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) technology, five divers, a marine surveyor, and support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Services, the Harbour Authority at Herring Neck and local fish harvesters in the area.


cofferdam at the Manolis  L site
cofferdam at the Manolis  L site

Crew install the new cofferdam at the Manolis L site, part of CCG’s Environmental Response pre-winter operations in December 2014. CCG successfully removed oil collected from the previous cofferdam, installed a new one, and inspected the sealants.


In spring 2015, a scheduled assessment of the Manolis L determined that all containment seals and the cofferdam were working, and no oil was observed. Oil collected by the cofferdam was removed by a Coast Guard environmental response team and the cofferdam was replaced with another. During the operation, pollution containment equipment was deployed and aerial surveillance assisted the response team with monitoring for any signs of any pollution on the surface of the water. The team completed an assessment using an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV) to ensure that the seals and cofferdam are working.

cofferdam at the Manolis  L site
cofferdam at the Manolis  L site

CCG Environmental Response team pumped out the cofferdam on Manolis L and replaced it, June 2015.


Non-recoverable oil droplets were observed during the fall 2015 Manolis L operation, which quickly dissipated. The oil droplets were attributed to some residual oil that may have become attached to the subsurface rigging used in the cofferdam operation that slowly began to surface. The Coast Guard is continuing to monitor the area by aerial surveillance and will take action as needed.

Coast Guard continues to monitor the Manolis L site with the assistance of Transport Canada aerial surveillance and CCG fleet vessels, and continues to be prepared to move swiftly to respond if the need arises. Any oil pollution sightings should be reported as soon as possible to the Environmental Emergencies Line (709) 772-2083 or 1-800-563-9089.

What is the cost of the Government of Canada’s operations surrounding the Manolis L?

Various direct and indirect costs are linked to ongoing monitoring and operations, with costs incurred by CCG and other government departments involved. Given that efforts are ongoing and costs have not been fully tabulated across departments, a full costing of operations to-date is not available at this time.

The Marine Liability Act sets out the provisions of the Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF), the Canadian fund established for the purpose of ensuring the payment of claims for marine oil pollution that originates from ships. The system is designed to cover the risk of non-payment by ship owners who are responsible for pollution.

However, the Marine Liability Act restricts the recovery of costs under the SOPF to five years from the date of the original pollution occurrence, which in this case refers to the vessel’s sinking.

How can I get up-to-date-information about the Manolis L?

Through community engagement CCG continues to inform local communities, the fishing industry and others interested on an on-going basis.

Information about the Manolis L will be updated regularly on this web page.