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Canada Province says oil leak contained from MV Miner wreck off coast of Nova Scotia

MV Miner ran aground off Scatarie Island, a provincially designated wilderness management area, on Sept. 20., 2011.

HO/The Canadian Press

About 800 litres of oil was collected after a leak occurred during demolition of the wreckage of the MV Miner off Cape Breton's Scaterie Island, says the province's transportation minister.

Geoff MacLellan said Thursday that the oil was inside an engine that was being removed from the derelict vessel during work on Sunday.

"They (workers) cut away a particular section . . . and there was one particular pipe that was seeping the oil," said MacLellan.

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He said a small portion of the oil leaked into the water, although it's not known how much.

"We don't have a specific number," he said. "It was a sheen on top of the water, so it was very limited."

He said no heavy oil got past containment booms that were close to the wreck and the lobster fishery in the area was not affected.

The government says RJ MacIsaac Construction was planning to remove the last remaining engine from the wreck and it expected oil could be a risk to the environment.

As part of its plan to remove the engine, divers videotaped the wreckage and a plan was prepared, which included containment booms being placed around the remains of the ship and oil absorption materials being on hand.

The 12,000-tonne, 223-metre bulk carrier ran aground on the island after a tow line snapped in rough seas during transit to Turkey from Montreal in September 2011.

Ottawa and Nova Scotia have been at odds over who should pay for the removal of the wreckage.

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The federal transport minister has already rejected provincial requests for financial help, saying last year that the cleanup isn't an impediment to navigation and therefore Transport Canada is not involved.

The province has said the total cost of removing the MV Miner will exceed the original $11.9-million budget because of the extra asbestos and diesel fuel found aboard the vessel.

The company tasked with removing the ship had taken 30 tonnes of asbestos from the vessel near the end of January, far more than the 6.6 tonnes of asbestos federal reports estimated to be on the ship.

The province says the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada were notified of the leak and the coast guard is monitoring the area by air for signs of oil.

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