The Canadian government is facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit from the owner of a cruise ship that became stranded in the Northwest Passage last summer, CBC News has learned.
Adventurer Owner Ltd. of Nassau, Bahamas, is seeking at least $15 million US for costs related to its cruise ship, MV Clipper Adventurer, running aground on Aug. 27, 2010, according to a statement of claim that has been filed with the Federal Court.
The Clipper Adventurer was ferrying 128 passengers through the Arctic passage when it struck an uncharted rock shelf in Coronation Gulf, near Kugluktuk, Nunavut.
No one was injured, but the passengers and crew were forced to stay on the stranded ship for almost two days until a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker arrived to take them to Kugluktuk.
The passengers were customers of Adventure Canada, a tour operator that had chartered the Clipper Adventurer for the Arctic cruise.
It took more than two weeks before the cruise ship was refloated on Sept. 14, 2010, according to Adventurer Owner’s statement of claim.
Ship was seriously damaged
The company claims that the ship was seriously damaged, and it was taken to a shipyard in Poland for repairs in November and December.
The damages Adventurer Owner is seeking from the federal government includes $12 million in repair and salvage costs related to the ship’s hull, $2.6 million for loss of business, and $350,000 in other costs.
The company says the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans failed to inform mariners about the rock shelf, which the department has known about since September 2007, according to the statement of claim.
The nautical charts the Clipper Adventurer’s captain had on board indicated there were 29 metres of water in that spot, when there were only three metres, the company claims.
Federal officials “failed to put in place and maintain, or to take reasonable steps to put in place and maintain … any reasonable system for disseminating such information,” the company’s claim states in part.
None of Adventure Owner’s allegations have been proven in court [so far]. The federal government has not yet filed a statement of defence. A court motion indicates that lawyers have asked for more time.