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toronto captain john's

Captain John's to be scrapped (for real this time)

Poor, hopeless Captain John's "floating" restaurant is finally going to hit the scrapheap later this month, PortsToronto says. A federal court judge authorized yet another the sale of the rapidly disintegrating former floating restaurant to Marine Recycling Corp., specialist wreckers based out of Port Colborne, Ont. earlier this afternoon.

The M.S. Jadran, a former Yugoslavian cruiser that saw service on the Black, Adriatic, and Aegean seas, arrived on the Toronto waterfront in 1981 as a replacement for an earlier Captain John's vessel that capsized after being struck by a city ferry.

John Letnik, the owner, was ordered to abandoned ship in October 2013 over back taxes and unpaid fees totalling more than a million dollars.

In its day, Captain John's was something of a downtown Toronto hotspot. Mayors and celebrities all dined there during its heyday, but now the dining room sits stripped and strewn with garbage.

According to the Toronto Star, the rest of the ship is in horrendous shape, too. The hull is flooded with more than 10 feet of contaminated water and lined with asbestos. Just towing the ship away will without it rolling over or disintegrating will be a considerable challenge.

Last June, the ship was sold at auction to North American Seafood Exchange on the condition the company extricate it from its Yonge St. slip. When the company failed to meet that goal by August, the process was restarted, resulting in Marine Recycling Corp. officially taking ownership this afternoon.

PortsToronto, Waterfront Toronto, and Citizen Developments have contributed equally to finance the removal of the ship.

High winds and choppy water could still stymie the operation, and PortsToronto has agreed to push back the May 31 deadline if inclement weather prevents Marine Recycling hauling the Jadran away. That said, the port authority is still confident MRC will get the job done.

"This is their core business, they've done it many, many times with different ships over the years," says Erin Mikaluk with PortsToronto. "Over the next few weeks they're going to be readying the ship to be towed. That includes securing loose items, filling in any areas where water could possibly enter the hull, among other preparation work."

"They've got the expertise, they've got the knowledge, and we're highly confident that they can make this happen."

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Tom Ryaboi

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