The NM Apollo comes back to haunt the Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) and the government. The plan to sink the ship and turn it into an artificial reef in the St. Lawrence is in peril. The non-profit organization behind this idea is no longer able to afford the bills that could still be in the millions of dollars.
Since its purchase in 2019, the NM ferry Apollo has already cost the STQ over $ 5.5 million. Of this amount, $ 2 million was paid in the fall of 2019 to the Société Apollo de Godbout to support the work to sink the ship dating from 1970 in the bay of Godbout. The STQ had sold it for $ 1.
Today, there is more or less $ 180,000 in the coffers of the Apollo Company, specifies in Newspaper President Jean-Yves Bouffard, also mayor of Godbout.
This is insufficient to ensure the rest of the work or even to move the ship from the port of Quebec, he concedes.
“It has to get out of the Groupe Océan space within the next 15 days,” says Bouffard.
“We started with $ 1.7M and we have 30% of the work done. We expected a bill of $ 2.5 million. There, if we make a rule of three, $ 4 million is missing, ”he adds.
Various discoveries during the work to prepare it for sinking, like asbestos, caused the bill to jump. It must be said that the vessel had been purchased without inspection by the STQ from Labrador Marine, in 2019.
Mr. Bouffard contacted the Ministry of the Economy for financial assistance. He wants to request a quote from another company to finish the work as well as a price to dismantle the entire ship.
“Everything posed a problem. Currently, we have estimates for the costs that scare us. When we got the boat, we didn’t have the plans. We did not know about asbestos, ”he emphasizes.
Risk of sinking
On the side of the Ocean Group, which had been mandated to carry out the work, it is feared that the ship would sink if it is not maintained this winter.
“We initially told the Apollo Company that it was not going to be possible to do all the work with the funds available. We also underlined that it was very likely that other things would be found because of the history of the ship, ”says spokesperson Philippe Filion.
In January, the Apollo Company nevertheless gave the green light to the Ocean Group. The work was stopped in May due to a lack of funds. The management of the STQ did not want to comment on the matter.
THE NM APOLLO IN SHORT
- Built in 1970 in Germany and purchased in 2019 by the STQ.
- He ensured the crossing between Matane and Godbout replacing the NM F.-A.-Gauthier for about twenty days.
- It collided with two docks during its activities. The repairs cost almost $ 172,000.
- A report from the Transportation Safety Board had mentioned various problems on the ship, in particular concerning the tightness of its hull.
- Only 30% of the work necessary to sink it in the bay of Godbout without impact on the environment has been carried out.
- It has cost the STQ $ 5.5 million so far.