Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 15, 2016 09:30

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
• WCMRC vessels are fitted with air monitoring resources and will report any safety concerns
• Site Specific Safety Plan is being continuously developed and is to be followed by all responders
Personal Protective Equipment stocks will be located on the MAR-ELL-MIST and the BARTLETT to ensure continued availability on scene

• ICP is operating out of the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council chambers
ICP staff reconvened and conducted Operations Briefing at 0800 this morning
ICP staff are transitioning the response to the Planning Phase, and Operations will be implementing the first Incident Action Plan today

• Staging Area has been established at Shearwater

Operations Briefing held at 0800, daily Operations are to be directed according to the Incident Action Plan
• Communications are to be coordinated to the ICP through MAR-ELL-MIST
• Priorities for on-water responders today are to install secondary containment booming around casualty, install protection booming at locations in Gale Channel, and continue to recover product as possible with sorbents
• Currentbuster system is to be deployed, and will be attempting recovery in the areas of thickest concentration
• Initial overflight this morning shows containment around the casualty appears effective in the current conditions

• Skimming considered ineffective thus far due to limited thickness of product
• Additional WCMRC equipment and contractor personnel have been mobilized from Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island and South Coast and will be arriving at various times today and tomorrow
• Schedule for overflights has been developed for the day; available assets include CCG helicopter and Kirby helicopter; NASP aircraft has been requisitioned and will be arriving on scene with ETA of 1300
o Overflight taskings will be coordinated through the ICP, and will be focusing on tactical operations support, observations, and supporting SCAT surveys
• Tug and barge are considered stable; Resolve Marine Group divers have been down to the tug to conduct salvage assessments and have been able to plug all vents on the tug; 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

SCAT crews will be conducting an initial overflight today, and will be starting assessments at identified locations thereafter
• Polaris Applied Sciences has been hired to lead SCAT
o SCAT Teams will be comprised of at least:
 1 RP Representative
 1 Heiltsuk 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 Hotline has been activated: 877-323-3985
• Operations crews have been instructed to report any wildlife sightings through the MAR-ELL-MIST for relay to the ICP
• Wildlife has arrived on scene and has started assessments
• Wildlife assessment teams will include representatives from Heiltsuk Nation

• Focus Wildlife has been contracted to lead Wildlife
• Public and responders are urged not to attempt to handle any oiled wildlife

• BC Ministry of Environment is cooperating with Heiltsuk Nation and being supported remotely by Environment Canada
• BC Ministry of Environment is leading development of a Sampling Plan, has been collaborating with Heiltsuk and Kirby to take samples
• BC Ministry of Environment is developing a Waste Plan to support Operations

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 3:47 AM PDT 15 October 2016

A deepening low pressure system will cross the Southern BC waters today. Gale force easterly or southeasterly winds will develop over the southern waters this afternoon with winds rising further to gale to storm force this evening as the low passes Southern Vancouver Island. In the wake of the low gale to storm force southwesterlies are expected off Southern Vancouver Island.

Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 15 October 2016
Today Tonight and Sunday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 30 this morning then diminishing to northeast 10 to 15 early this evening. Wind diminishing to light late overnight then increasing to southeast 15 to 25 Sunday morning.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 15 October 2016
Today Tonight and Sunday Seas 3 to 4 metres subsiding to 3 this morning.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 15 October 2016
Today Tonight and Sunday A few showers.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 15 October 2016
Monday Wind light becoming southeast 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.
Tuesday Wind south 10 to 15 knots.
Wednesday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 45 to 55 late in the day.


No watches or warnings in effect.