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Spilling into court

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Dec 07/05) - Woodward's Oil Ltd. is facing yet another charge in connection to its fuel-resupply services to Nunavut.

Transport Canada announced on Nov. 28 that charges have been laid against Woodward's for a 10,000-litre spill which happened in Pond Inlet on Aug. 22, 2004.

The fuel was being delivered by the Woodward's vessel, the Tuvaq.

The charge is the fourth against the company under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act in Nunavut.

The three other charges all stem from Kivalliq fuel resupply conducted by the vessel, M.T. Mokami.

On Aug. 8, 2003, 1,500 litres were spilled at Coral Harbour, followed by 1,000 litres on July 22, 2004, in Rankin Inlet and 200 litres in Coral on Oct. 22, 2004.

Another charge under the Canada Shipping Act was laid in connection to the 2004 Coral spill, relating to the absence of properly functioning discharge-monitoring equipment at the time.

The Kivalliq charges were all laid by Transport Canada this past summer.

The Nunavut government renewed its contract with Woodward's earlier this year, despite the company's ongoing difficulties.

Susan McLellan, a regional director of communications for Transport Canada, said the next court date for the Kivalliq spills is set for Jan. 9 in Rankin Inlet.

The first court appearance concerning the Pond Inlet spill is set for 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 17 at Pond Inlet.

Each charge carries a maximum fine of $100,000.

McLellan said the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act prohibits any deposit of fuel in Canadian Arctic waters.

"Transport Canada investigates all reported incidents of ship-source pollution," said McLellan.

"Wherever there's sufficient evidence we will prosecute the polluters, as we're doing in these incidents.

"I can't really provide any further information about the incidents themselves - or any ongoing performance-related dialogue which may be taking place between the company and the Nunavut government - as long as the matters are before the courts."