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No timeline to remove beached barge from Victoria waterfront: Transport Canada

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More than a week after a marine barge ran aground near Victoria during an intense windstorm, there is still no timeline for the vessel's removal, according to federal officials and the company responsible for the watercraft.

The cement barge, known as Metlakatla I, broke free of its tow cable and drifted onto the rocks at McLoughlin Point on the evening of Nov. 29, as high seas forced the cancellation of multiple ferry sailings in the region.

By Wednesday, the barge had drawn hordes of onlookers to the Esquimalt, B.C., waterfront but little in the way of recovery work.

Transport Canada says Lafarge Canada, which owns the barge, has conducted a damage assessment on the vessel to determine what actions are required to safely refloat the vessel.

The federal agency was still working with the company to finalize that salvage plan Wednesday.

"The particular details regarding the recovery of the barge are the purview of the owner's representative and the timing of the removal remains to be confirmed," Transport Canada spokesperson Sau Sau Liu said.

"The removal is a complex issue, with several factors to consider in addition to tide levels and weather, including safety, security and environmental protection."

Lafarge Canada confirmed it was still forming its salvage plan Wednesday with no firm recovery timeline in place. (CTV News)

Lafarge confirmed it was still forming its salvage plan Wednesday with no firm recovery timeline in place.

"We are working with Transport Canada and necessary partners to implement a safe and prompt recovery plan," company spokesperson Anna Salomao said.

The federal agency says the barge contains no fuel and poses no threat to the safety of residents or the marine environment.

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