Canada on Monday introduced federal legislation in Ottawa aimed at outlawing the abandonment of vessels in Canadian waters, according to CBC.
The Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act would levy fines of up to $300,000 and jail time of up to six months for individual offenders caught or proved to have ditched a ship in the nation’s waterways or harbours. Corporate violators face fines up to $6m.
Apart from being unsightly and potential navigation hazards, abandoned vessels are potentially damaging to the environment, too, said Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
There are already approximately 600 such derelict hulks littering Canadian waters and, while those cases will not be subject to the fines or prison penalties, the government will be given some powers to try to force the offenders to safely dispose of the ships.
Owners of large commercial ships will be required to carry insurance to cover the cost of safe vessel disposal.
The Act is part of the country’s $1.5bn Oceans Protection Plan, introduced exactly one year previously.