Coast guard ship is latest casualty of Hay River sandbar

Last modified: October 17, 2022 at 10:52am


A Canadian Coast Guard ship ran aground on a sandbar outside Hay River, a spokesperson for the federal government confirmed.

The ship Dumit was removing buoys when it “contacted a sandbar” just before 8:30pm on Saturday, Fisheries and Oceans Canada spokesperson Kariane Charron told Cabin Radio by email on Sunday.

Residents had reported watching the vessel from their homes on Sunday, not far from a position on the water where a barge had become similarly trapped earlier in the summer.

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On Monday morning, after this article was first published, the Canadian Coast Guard said the Dumit had been safely floated off the sandbar the previous evening with no damage or pollution to the environment.

The latest incident came amid a renewed push for dredging of Hay River’s harbour.

Fishers, residents and local politicians all say the situation has reached a crisis point after nearly three decades without any significant dredging work following a federal decision to stop funding it. While the territorial government now says it is happy to do the work if funding is found, six federal agencies contacted by Cabin Radio all said they were not directly responsible for providing the cash.

Charron said the Dumit had been unable to free itself from the sandbar because of low water levels and its crew had worked through the night to lighten the vessel, offloading equipment and cargo to the MV Vic Ingraham with assistance from the tug MT Kakisa.

“At this time, attempts to break from the sandbar have been unsuccessful,” Charron wrote in an email on Sunday afternoon.

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“The MT Kakisa and MV Vic Ingraham have also been hampered by low water levels and have returned to Hay River.

“The CCGS Dumit’s crew are working to further lighten the vessel by offloading navaids on a barge. If those efforts are unsuccessful, awaiting a north wind-induced water level increase will be required.”

Lynn Lepine, a resident watching efforts to free the Dumit from the shore, said at 3:30pm on Sunday that renewed efforts by the MV Vic Ingraham and MT Kakisa appeared to be slowly freeing the Dumit.

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