Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date:
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 14, 2016 16:00

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 was empty of cargo and has since 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 is 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 fuel. Kirby was able to confirm that 6554 gallons of diesel fuel were pumped from the tug into tank 6 on the barge before the pumps failed due to water in the engine room. A positive manifest of additional liquids aboard is being prepared. Tug is considered in a stable position; it is sitting on the bottom with a roughly 12* list to port, and is not currently moving in the swell.


  • 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

Unified Command
Jim Guidry (Responsible Party Incident Commander)
William Housty (Heiltsuk On Scene Commander)
Jeff Brady (Canadian Coast Guard Federal Incident Commander)
John Kervel (BC Provincial 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 is to be followed by all responders


  • ICP has been relocated to the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council chambers
  • Incident Management Team and Unified Command will be operating out of this location
  • ICP staff are transitioning the response to the Planning Phase, and plan to submit an Incident Action Plan for approval by 1900


  • Staging Area has been established at Shearwater


  • Primary containment booming was in place around the casualty at 11:17; overflights and on-water observations have confirmed containment booming is retaining product, but some is still entraining; the thickest concentration of product is within the containment boom
  • Priority for responders is to install protection booming at two locations in Gale Channel, and install secondary containment booming around casualty
  • M/V EAGLE BAY has attempted recovery with its skimmers, but considered ineffective due to limited thickness of product on water; primary recovery tactic therefore will be shifting to sorbents
  • Additional WCMRC equipment and contractor personnel have been mobilized from Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island and South Coast
    • Two Currentbuster 4 sweep systems
    • Additional boom and equipment trailers (an additional 6000’ of boom is enroute and skimmers)
    • Trailer of sorbents from South Coast
    • Contractor vessel from Prince Rupert
    • Skimming Vessel M/V GM PENMAN is forward staged in Campbell River, unable to proceed at the moment due to conditions
  • Ongoing overflights have shown that containment boom is currently effective around the casualty, and that sheen is heaviest in Seaforth Channel on either side of the north opening of Gale Channel, and lighter throughout Gale Channel to the south opening
  • Barge DBL 55 is currently anchored at mouth of Dundavan Inlet, no concerns about stability of barge
  • Tug is considered in a stable position
  • Resolve Marine Group divers have been down to the tug to conduct salvage assessments and have been able to plug a number of vents that were seen to be seeping product; divers will be installing a locator buoy on the wreck; lightering plan is being developed to remove fuel from the tug with hot taps, and a salvage plan is in development to follow once lightering is complete; plan is to remove the tug from the water with a crane and place it on a barge for transit; no repairs are to be attempted in the water
  • Assessments are also be made of the damaged barge to ensure it is safe for transit out of the area
  • Transport Canada will be assisting in salvage assessments of the tug and barge and will be approving any plans developed
  • Operations will be focused on daylight hours, due to concerns about safety and effectiveness of operating after sundown
  • CCG vessel BARTLETT remains on scene to act as coordination vessel on water


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


  • Wildlife has arrived on scene and will be starting assessments
  • Focus Wildlife has been contracted to lead Wildlife assessments
  • Public and responders are urged not to attempt to handle any oiled wildlife.


  • Heiltsuk Nation is working in the Incident Management Team to identify critical areas of interest, i.e. biological, cultural and economic sensitivities.
  • Environment Canada has been supporting the ICP
  • BC Ministry of Environment is leading development of a Sampling Plan


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


Marine Weather Statement
Issued 10:20 AM PDT 14 October 2016 A low pressure system off Vancouver Island will cross the south
Coast this afternoon. Gale force southerly or southeasterly winds
will continue over most southern and central waters today ahead of
the system. Gale to storm force westerly or northwesterly winds will
prevail over parts of southern waters in its wake then ease this

A deepening low pressure system will approach the southern waters
On Saturday. Gale force easterly or southeasterly winds are
Expected to develop over the southern waters Saturday afternoon
With winds rising further to gale to storm force in the evening as
the low crosses Southern Vancouver Island. In the wake of the low
gale to storm force southwesterlies are expected off Southern
Vancouver Island.

Forecast (Environment Canada)

Issued 10:30 AM PDT 14 October 2016
Today Tonight and Saturday Gale warning in effect. Wind southeasterly 25 to 35 knots becoming southwesterly 20 to 30 late this afternoon except northeast 15 over northern sections. Wind becoming southerly 15 to 25 early this evening then backing to southeast 25 to 30 Saturday morning except northeast 15 over northern sections. Wind becoming southerly 15 to 25 Saturday afternoon then becoming northeast 15 Saturday evening.

Issued 04:00 AM PDT 14 October 2016
Today Tonight and Saturday Seas 4 metres subsiding to 3 this morning.

Weather & Visibility
Issued 10:30 AM PDT 14 October 2016
Today Tonight and Saturday A few showers.

Extended Forecast
Issued 04:00 AM PDT 14 October 2016
Sunday Wind southeast 10 to 20 knots.
Monday Wind light increasing to southeast 10 to 20 knots late in the day.
Tuesday Wind south 15 to 25 knots diminishing to south 10 to 15.

Warnings (In effect)
Gale warning in effect Central Coast from McInnes Island to Pine Island
Issued 2:06 PM PDT 14 October 2016
‘Gale’ force winds of 34 to 47 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area. Watch for updated statements. Please refer to the latest marine forecasts for further details and continue to monitor the situation through Canadian Coast Guard radio or Weatheradio stations.

Time Height
PDT (m) (ft)
06:04 1 3.3
12:19 4.7 15.4
18:30 1 3.3
Time Height
PDT (m) (ft)
00:38 4.7 15.4
06:46 1 3.3
12:57 5 16.4
19:15 0.7 2.3


Time Height
PDT (m) (ft)
01:26 4.8 15.7
07:27 1 3.3
13:36 5.2 17.1
20:00 0.4 1.3