Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date:
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 14, 2016 11:20

Seaforth Channel, approximately 11nm west of Bella Bella


Tug Nathan E. Stewart and Barge DBL 55 ran hard aground on the rocks at 10/13/16 (01:13 PDT) yesterday morning. The unit was located in Canadian Waters at 52.14.46N, 128.23.160W at the entrance to Sea Forth Channel. The tug remains aground on Athlone Island, approximately 11.5 miles from Bella Bella by water. The barge is empty of cargo and has been moved to a safe anchorage, at the mouth of Dundavan inlet. Water ingress has been detected in the number 2,3, and 5 void tanks. All other barge voids and all cargo compartments have been inspected and there is no sign of water ingress.

The tug Nathan E. Stewart has gone aground in shallow water and is partially submerged (only the mast is showing) in 9 metres of water. After the incident it was reported that the 1Center, and 1Starboard fuel tanks were breached. The tug was loaded with 59,924 gallons of diesel usage fuel. A positive manifest of additional liquids that were aboard is being prepared. It is reported on scene that the vessel is rocking in the swells. A large buoy is planned to be put on the tug.


  • Ensure the safety of citizens and response personnel
  • Control the source
  • Secure the vessel and refloat/remove from the marine environment
  • Maximize protection of environmentally-sensitive areas, prioritizing of sample collection
  • Contain and recover spilled material
  • Remove oil from impacted areas
  • Recover and rehabilitate injured wildlife
  • Manage coordinated response effort
  • Keep the public & stakeholders informed of response activities
  • Clear and consistent communication to the community
  • Minimize economic impacts from the spill to the community and the environment
  • Minimize local business interruption

Initial Unified Command
Jim Guidry (Responsible party incident commander)
Jeff Brady (Canadian Coast Guard incident commander)
John Kervel (BC Provincial on scene commander)
William Housty (Heiltsuk on scene commander)



  • No incidents/near misses reported relating to accident or response
  • Initial responders had concerns with inhalation of diesel fumes
  • Crew safely evacuated from tug
  • WCMRC vessels are fitted with air monitoring resources and will report any safety concerns
  • Site specific safety plan has been developed and should be followed by all responders


  • ICP has be relocated to the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council chambers
  • All incident management team operations will be managed out of the ICP including the environment unit


  • Staging Area has been established at Shearwater


  • M/V Eagle Bay deployed 1000′ of boom in Gale Creek (same location as before). Double boomed and added sorbent.
  • Booming has not stayed in place overnight due to current and weather.
  • Barge DBL 55 broke away from the Tug Nathan E Stewart at approximately 7pm Oct 13th
  • HAISEE GUARDIAN took barge in tow. Tug DILLIGENCE also on scene conducted survey of barge. Barge drafts reported; 6.5′ forward and 8.0 feet aft with no noticeable list.
  • Barge is now currently anchored at the mouth of Dundavan Inlet, as of 11pm on Oct 13th
  • Instructed all response resources to stand down for the evening. HAISEES GUARDIAN has barge in tow and will await anchoring instructions.
  • Two (2) overflights were conducted at 08:00, Oct 14th, to conduct surveillance for daily operations. Results of overflight showed an increase of sheen throughout Gale Passage, heavier concentration of oil around tug with purple dull colours.
  • Environmental Unit/Science Table Meeting at 09:00 at ICP/Conference Call to update provincial and federal agencies on the situation, to be conducted daily.
  • Joint Heiltsuk and Kirby Corp environmental assessment teams are collaborating on assessment of environmental impacts.
  • Additional protection and containment booming strategies will be ongoing today
  • sweeping with absorbent boom around Nathan E. Stewart
  • booming of Gale passage at both ends Seaforth and Thompson
  • application of sorbent sweep boom in Gale Passage
  • Salvage team on route to assess the tug in its current position, 600 ton crane barge has been deployed from Vancouver.
  • Responders are ensuring local knowledge is being utilized on the ground
  • Inventory of response supplies has been done and sufficient supplies are deployed and more are on route.
  • Morel Mist will be the vessel coordinating communications to report out


  • Polaris Applied Sciences has been hired to lead SCAT
    • SCAT Team will be comprised of at least:
  • 1 RP Representative
  • 1 FN Representative
  • 1 Provincial Representative
  • The SCAT teams survey the affect area to provide geo-referenced documentation on oil and shoreline conditions in a rapid, accurate, and systematic process, using standardized methods and terminology.
  • The shoreline surveys will be used to create shoreline treatment recommendations (STR). These will direct how the cleanup will take place.


  • Focus Wildlife has been contracted to conduct a wildlife assessment, arriving at 12:25pm, Oct 14th
  • Wildlife has been reported on scene. Condition assessment to follow.


  • Working with Heiltsuk Nation to identify critical areas of interest, i.e. cultural, economic sensitivities.
  • Priority is the collection of water, ground, and bentican vertebrate samples


  • Public Information Officer is on site
  • Significant Media Interest
  • Situational updates have been provided to the media

Environment Canada Weather/Tides

Synoptic Discussion:
A ridge of high pressure will remain over the northern BC interior today through Saturday. An area of low pressure will stay over the BC waters. Moderate outflow winds of 10 to 20 knots and isolated showers will continue today through Saturday.


Day Fri Fri Fri Sat Sat Sat Sat
Time (PDT) 6 AM 12 PM 6 PM 12 AM 6 AM 12 PM 6 PM
Wind Direction NE NE East East East East East
Wind Speed (knots) 10 15 12 10 16 18 12
Temperature (C) 8 9 13 9 8 8 9
Weather Isolated Showers Isolated Showers Isolated Showers Isolated Showers Light Rain Showers Showers
Visibility (SM) 9+ 9+ 9+ 9+ 9+ 9+ 9+
Waves (m) 1-2 1-2 1-2 1 1 1 1
Time (PDT)

– Tides (m)

6:04 – 1.1 12:18 – 4.6 6:30 – 1.0 00:36 – 4.6 6:46 – 1.0 12:56 – 4.9 7:15 – 0.7