The Coast Guard destroyed his ship without questioning.Now, a federal agency wants him to pay a bill of $8,500
Tom Puglas, 76, said that he had just spent thousands of dollars repairing the engine of an old second-hand fishing boat when he received a call from a friend in the fall of 2017, telling him that his fishing boat was already Walked away from the old boat. port.
He said that he later learned through a friend that his ship and all its equipment had been destroyed by the Canadian Coast Guard and sent him a $8,500 bill to cover the cost.
Puglas said: “I never got in touch with the Coast Guard. I didn’t know until I was about to repair my boat.” said Puglas, the mayor of Vancouver, who lives in the Campbell River in Glasgow, British Columbia, said his boat It is 200 km from the hotel in Port McNeill Port.
“My boat is not there.”
According to court documents, the Coast Guard stated that it contacted Puglas in August and September 2017 and told him that the ship was sinking and leaching oil.
Puglas denied these claims.
The loss of the ship was an economic blow to Puglas. After he retired from the logging industry, fishing added some income to his family. Puglas, a member of the Mamalililikulla First Nations, lives with his wife on the ground floor of his house, while his son and family live on the upper floor.
He said: “That’s my fishing boat for making money.”
According to court documents, in October 2017, the Coast Guard towed Puglas’ ship from Port McNeill’s port because the ship was slowly sinking and leaching oil. Four months later, the Coast Guard destroyed the ship.
The document does not say whether the Coast Guard ever informed Puglas that it planned to destroy his ship.
Puglas said that after he was pulled into the water from the boat, he did not know where the boat was and did not give him a chance to retrieve his property.
A few months later, Puglas was hit again.
In 2019, he received a letter from a low-key federal agency in Ottawa, called the Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund, asking him to pay a bill of $8,500 for dismantling and destroying ships.
Federal agencies were ordered to recover costs from shipowners who caused marine pollution. The agency has reimbursed part of the cost of the Coast Guard.
Puglas said the agency had been “annoying” him to pay bills he couldn’t afford because he no longer had a boat.
Puglas, who does not have a lawyer, said: “My brother and I went out to try to make money, but I didn’t make as much money as I earned when I owned my own boat.”
“My brother noticed that I am not myself recently… I am so worried about all these things.”
Agents promote litigation
In August last year, the agency filed a lawsuit in federal court, demanding that Puglas compel payment.
The case remained dormant until February, when the court notified the agency that it planned to throw the case to the agency because there was no movement for six months.
In order to keep the case alive, the agency stated in court documents that until January this year, when it found services in Nanaimo, about 210 kilometers southeast of the Campbell River, it could find someone to provide Puglas with a claim. .
The agency stated in the statement of claim that the Coast Guard has contacted Puglas twice since August 2017 regarding the slow sinking of its ship. The documents show that Plath told the Coast Guard that he planned to pull the ship out.
Puglas denied that the Coast Guard contacted him about the ship.
James Wilson, 65, a friend of Puglas’s and a former fisherman who lived in Campbell River, tried to act as a representative to deal with the agency’s lawyers.
Speaking of his efforts for a possible hearing, Wilson said: “I will speak for Tom in court on the same day. Please provide me with the link details so that I can speak at this court hearing.”
“I don’t know where the court is, whether it’s in Hull, Quebec or Ottawa… I haven’t heard from them for months.”
Wilson said the Coast Guard had other options besides destroying Puglas’s ship and property.
Wilson said: “They chose the most extreme option. Once the water is submerged, there is no danger to the harbor.”
“Now, he is being punished twice.”
Letter to the Prime Minister
The agency’s statement of claim stated that the Coast Guard decided to destroy the ship on its own.
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office in October 2020, Wilson stated that Puglas was “a victim of systematic racism against indigenous people.”
Trudeau’s office responded in May and referred the matter to the office of Transport Minister Omar Alghabra.
CBC News contacted the Canadian Fisheries and Oceans organization that oversees the Coast Guard.
The Minister’s Office forwarded the “CBC News” to Transport Canada, which stated in an e-mail that since it is an independent agency, it will be postponed to the Ship Source Oil Pollution Foundation.
A spokesperson for the agency said in an email statement that the company conducted a “due diligence” and determined that Puglas could pay the bill.
The statement said: “Mr. Puglas had previously notified the Administrator’s Office that he could not pay him the claim.” “The administrator will only recover if it is reasonable.”
New Democratic Party member Rachel Blaney (Rachel Blaney) cycling including Campbell River (Campbell River) said she is investigating the issue.
Blaney said: “This is a huge bill, a huge sum of money for people with few resources.”
Wilson wrote to the agency’s lawyers in November 2019, listing all the items left on the Puglas ship. It said that the total value of these items is more than US$50,000, including power tools and a marine diesel stove worth US$16,000, and a big red gill net worth US$5,000.
Wilson said that under the law, the agency could have used these items to pay for the damage to the ship.
The agency provided CBC News with an assessment that the ship could not be put back into the water.
The report stated: “The residual value of the electronic equipment, machinery or any parts on the rescue ship is zero.”