GN warns of criminal, civil penalties for taking stranded sea can contents

NEAS truck blocks access to Apex Rotary Park where containers washed ashore after ‘sealift incident’

Around a dozen people could be seen entering one of the seacans stranded in Apex on Saturday. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Iqalummiut could face criminal charges or civil lawsuit penalties if they take anything from the seacans that have washed ashore in Apex since Friday, the Government of Nunavut says.

“Anyone who takes contents from a sealift container without authorization could face criminal and/or civil penalties,” a GN social media post on Saturday afternoon said.

“Please stay away from the containers and do not interfere with the cleanup,” said the post, which appeared on Facebook and Twitter.

Five shipping containers could be seen stranded in the area near Rotary Park in Apex early Saturday afternoon.

They were among the 20 containers that fell into the water near Iqaluit’s deepsea port Friday afternoon in what shipping company NEAS Arctic Sealift described as a “discharge incident.”

One person was treated for injuries following that incident, City of Iqaluit spokesperson Kent Driscoll said.

On Saturday morning, workers were seen recovering the lost cans.

But by low tide — around 1 p.m. — containers were stranded on the shore.

Throughout the afternoon, several people arrived at the park with bags. They trekked out to the open container by foot and on their ATVs.

Two RCMP officers walked to one of the cans and came back several minutes later. One of the responding officers said he heard there was alcohol in one of the cans.

RCMP arrived in Apex Saturday afternoon while people could be seen entering one of the stranded seacans. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

Around 3:30 p.m. — nearly two hours after police arrived in Rotary Park — the GN issued a warning on Facebook, telling people not to approach the stranded cans.

NEAS issued its first statement on the incident Saturday afternoon, advising people to avoid the washed-up cans.

“We are actively working with the relevant agencies, the local community, and our valued customers to ensure the safe resolution of this incident,” NEAS stated in a Facebook post.

“People should keep a safe distance and stay clear of marine work areas,” the company’s post said.

A pickup truck with NEAS markings on it was also on scene, blocking the road from Apex to the Rotary Park.

  • A tugboat, left, tows a shipping container near the Sivumut cargo ship, part of the NEAS sealift company's fleet, on Saturday morning. A sealift incident caused 20 containers to fall into the water near Iqaluit's deepsea port on Friday, prompting tugs and coast guard vessels to corral the seacans which the Government of Nunavut warned that the containers were a hazard to boaters in the area. (Photo by Jason Sudlovenick, special to Nunatsiaq News)
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(33) Comments:

  1. Posted by art thompson on

    several people arrived with bags? the thieves arrived to check it out. LOL

    • Posted by Captain Jack Sparrow on

      “Take everything you can and give nothing back…”☠️

  2. Posted by Old timer on

    Maybe free beer and wine in them 👍

  3. Posted by 😂 on

    Free beers 🍺 😂

  4. Posted by Truestory on

    Guess “salvaging” is not allowed in Nunavut waters.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      It’s not salvage it’s theft.

      • Posted by SARCASM on

        Not if , you dont get caught

  5. Posted by Looters be lootin on

    This is not salvaging. The law of maritime salvaging does not apply here. This is thief. Nothing here was “lost at sea”, it’s not international waters, the contents of the cans were not abandoned and the rule of finders keepers is a misconception in maritime law.

  6. Posted by Tony on

    Funny how the town’s thieving drunks are suddenly experts in maritime law.

    • Posted by Johnny Oh Ima on

      just like when the covid vaccine came out all of sudden people had medical degree and became researchers.

  7. Posted by Why u dum on

    This is simply a case of lose lips sink ships

  8. Posted by The contents are water damaged and can’t be resold on

    The contents of the containers will end up at the landfill so I am glad to see the folks salvaged what they could. There was no explanation of what was to happen when the containers were just sitting on the low tide rocks so the contents were salvaged. All the self righteous folk can scream all you want but the company should have used the 80 million dollar port to prevent this problem in the first place.

    • Posted by Quit with the criminal charge threats on

      That’s my view, too. What’re they going to do? Deliver the cases of beer to Legion/Storehouse/private purchasers and say, “Here’s your beer. It’s all good, don’t mind that the boxes disintegrated, just typical sealift shipping. Please pay your invoice now.”? You can’t charge people for these goods. Laissez faire.

  9. Posted by Norman Gordon on

    It is not criminal offence
    It is the law of the sea
    Which is salvageable without penalty
    See you in court

    • Posted by Sorry not sorry on

      The stuff didn’t come from the middle of the sea.
      it came within Canadian waters. Just off the coast of town. Maritime law doesn’t apply.
      Sorry, It was theft.

  10. Posted by Northerner on

    It’s not theft. It’s called clean up”

  11. Posted by Flotsam and Jetsam on

    Looks more like flotsam and jetsam to me.

    Maybe GN and the RCMP could look those up.

    • Posted by Takey on

      Just did. Anyone with even the tiniest bit of reading comprehension skills and critical thinking can understand it is not flotsam or jetsam.

  12. Posted by Harold (Iqaluit) on

    i was out on the beaches to frolick with the sea birds as i always do on sunday mornings when i spotted a great big crowd furiouslee going through a sea can ! i could not beleve it what was a big ugly sea can doing on the beach and why so many peeple wanted to go inside of it . i squirrelled my way to the front of the crowd and what i saw trulee shocked me . it was slacks . all sorts of sizes and colours . just like the ones i buy at the local northmert except these were sea stained and rancid . nothing that a little harold elbone greese can’t scrub out ! i grabbed about 50 pairs and headed home . on my way back on apex road a police officer stopped to ask what i was doing . i told him all about great discovery and he seemed quite interisted in the tale i was telling him . he even wrote some of it down . he asked if i wanted a ride back to town and i said gladly officer ! i through all my soggy old slacks in the backseat and rode along with the officer in the front seat . he answered all my questions about the law to the best of his abilitees and even let me turn on the siren ! what a pleesure that was .

    unfortunately unbeenownst to me he did not drive me to my house but to the police detention centir !!! i was quite embarressed and he telephoned my wife to come procure me ! she does not drive so she had to walk wich took her a terriblee long time and when she arrived she was too terrified to enter the centir !!! after quite a lengthy ordeel i was released and the worst thing about it is they confiscated the soggy slacks that i earned by carrying them up apex road !!! i won’t go foraging in beached sea cans any more .

    • Posted by Kaikai on

      Haha, love the sunday frolicking with seabirds… hahaha. Thanks.

  13. Posted by Mike on

    Well considering it fell in the sea and by sea law I believe these are now free for all . Otherwise shipping company would’ve spent money to retrieve it.

    It’s like if you find a boat with no crew … in ocean you can take it .

    So I laugh at the GN remarks lol

    • Posted by You are Incorrect on

      That is the law. When it is out at sea in international free waters.

      That is NOT the law however, When it is just off the coast of town within Canadian Waters.
      The people saying it is free and clear salvage. Are entirely incorrect and do not understand the law.

      It was Theft. Sorry.

    • Posted by Putting this out there on

      If you see a skidoo on the sea ice do you also believe you have the right to just take it?

  14. Posted by Hunter on

    The Iqaluit RCMP are going to be very busy for a while investigating and potentially laying charges if they get enough evidence. Lots of people to interview, facebook videos and photos to review.

    Remember people you have a right to remain silent, do not incriminate yourself, let the RCMP do their job and do not post anything to facebook incriminating yourself.

    I predict the Iqaluit court docket is going to get very long and busy in the near future.

  15. Posted by sealmeat on

    If the seacan contents had been pop, cans of food, etc. I

  16. Posted by sealmeat on

    If the seacan contents had been pop, cans of food, etc. and not beer, would the RCMP still have gone in their camo outfits and bulletproof vest, helmets, and take the beer from people, ONCE, they were ABOVE the high tide water mark?

    • Posted by Kuujjuaq on

      A ship ran agound in front of Old Chimo i think around WW2 , bringing supplies for Crystal 1 (american airbase) and there was lots of beer , lots of people got drunk on the beach, took the rest home , next thing you know , the Mounties went house to house confiscating the beer. Charlie told me , when he herd that , he hid his beer in the bush, True story

  17. Posted by Inuk on

    Nobody mention about insurance, weren’t the stuff insured?

  18. Posted by John on


  19. Posted by Hobart on

    if booze was spilling onto the beach a little beachcombing is natural.

  20. Posted by S on

    A bit of diversion from the real problems in Nunavut

  21. Posted by Name on

    maritime begins at shoreline, where municipal powers cease to rule.


Comments are closed.