Article released on Saltwire Network

Kathy Johnson( 

The Tri County Vanguard 
Published: 19 hours ago

Updated: 16 hours ago


Dominion Diving get ready to tackle the salvage of a sunken fishing vessel hull near the Cape Sable Island Causeway in early November. Ervin Olsen photo – Contributed



A recent two-day boat salvage operation near the Cape Sable Island Causeway, in the Municipality of Barrington in southwestern, N.S., could end up being in an episode for the new reality TV show, Lords of the Ocean.

Produced by Arcadia Entertainment, Halifax, the show, which premiered in Canada on Sept. 1 on History TV, follows brothers Matt and Robin Lohnes – second generation owners/operators of Dominion Diving of Dartmouth – as they conduct various jobs in the marine service industry and environment.

Dominion Diving staff Herbie Lintaman, Marine Operations Coordinator; and Shawn MacPhail, General Manager and Diving Safety Specialist, are also part of the cast.


Brothers Matt (left) and Robin Lohnes, second generation owners/operators of Dominion Diving, Dartmouth. Contributed – Contributed


In an interview, MacPhail said Dominion Diving was initially approached about 12 years ago by a local producer interested in doing a reality show profiling the company and the marine service industry. The timing, however, wasn’t right.


When provided the opportunity again last year, “we said let’s take a serious look at it,” said MacPhail.


“They assured us… when people watched the show, they would walk away educated on some aspect of the multi tasks that we have done,” he said. 


Dominion Diving was contracted to do 13 episodes for Lords of the Ocean, which will be airing in the U.S. and the U.K. in the coming months, then globally.


Various Nova Scotia marine-based projects and companies are featured in episodes. Project examples and themes highlighted include the Reef Balls project in Halifax Harbour, building an extended ramp for the Harbour Hopper, a wharf extension at the Port of Halifax, old school values of handshakes, relationship building and face-to-face business with Lunenburg Foundry and the story behind Nova Scotia business Abyss Diving Suits.

Filming for the episodes wrapped up in August.

“We tried to showcase as many local companies in the show that we could,” said MacPhail. 


Dominion Diving employee Oliver Van Gulik works with some of the lift bags used in the salvage of a sunken fishing vessel hull near the Cape Sable Island Causeway in early November. Ervin Olsen photo – Contributed


The salvage operation near the Cape Sable Island Causeway was filmed earlier this month.


“The crew was down there filming on spec just in case they want to do a second year,” MacPhail said. “We don’t know if there is any interest yet but if they do, they wanted to have one in the can. There were some interesting stories during the 13 episodes but there wasn’t a salvage so they were able to capture a job that wasn’t previously featured.”

Dominion Diving was sub-contracted to remove the sunken fishing vessel hull through Canadian Maritime Engineering (CME), said MacPhail.

“It was sunk in the mud pretty good,” said MacPhail. The wheelhouse and all the machinery had already been removed from the fiberglass hull before it sank about a year ago. “We stuck some lift bags on it and twisted it out of the mud. The whole operation took two days.”

On day one, the vessel was moved from its original site in deeper water.

“After we popped it up, we towed it in as far as we could on the fallen tide. The next day we readjusted the bags for more lift and towed her ashore,” he said. 



The retrieved fishing vessel hull sits high and dry on the North East Point shoreline after being Dominion Diving concluded the salvage operation. The vessel has since been taken away. Kathy Johnson


The retrieval was completed under a contract with Transport Canada through the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, said Frédérica Dupuis, senior media advisor for Transport Canada.


“A total of eight contracts were awarded for the removal of 16 vessels located in Nova Scotia (five), New Brunswick (five) and Newfoundland and Labrador (six),” said Dupuis via email. “Some of the metals on the retrieved vessels can be recycled, while the remaining materials will be disposed of at provincially approved solid waste disposal facilities.”

Transport Canada’s Abandoned Boat Program and the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act are two of many programs and measures under the Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, said Dupuis.

“Both aim to preserve and restore Canada’s marine ecosystem by removing abandoned boats from our waters, informing Canadians of their responsibilities to properly dispose of these boats as well as improving the safety of boaters and protecting Canada’s marine environment.”

Dominion Diving marked 50 years in business last year. Through the course of aggressive evolution, Dominion Diving is structured under a self-sustaining strategy, whereas in addition to its’ fleet of vessels and ROVs, Dominion Diving’s facility includes a CWB certified welding shop, hydraulics shop, electronics shop, and a variety of readily available equipment including all-terrain cranes and forklifts.