Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 19, 2016 07:00

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 manifest of additional liquids aboard at 90% capacity has been prepared, consisting of the following: 639 gals lube oil, 550 gals hydraulic oil, 550 gals gear oil, 969 gals dirty bilge. 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)


• Due to concerns about the weather and conditions, small boats have been stood down for the day; weather conditions have exceeded small boat thresholds set out in Adverse Weather Plan, which was approved by Unified Command
• Vessels have been instructed to make sure that any small boats launched check in with the BARTLETT to ensure they can be accounted for
• Handheld UHF radios have been distributed as needed, working with the repeater installed yesterday; ICP and on-water crews report good reception
WCMRC vessels are fitted with air monitoring resources and will report any safety concerns
• Contingency plans have been developed to shelter vessels in case of deteriorating weather
• 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; sorbent rolls will be available to limit contamination of vessel decks and to reduce slipping hazard
• A Decon Plan has been developed, and a vessel decontamination area is available at the GULF RIVAL; Decon station has been stood down for the day

•Fisheries and Oceans Canada have put in place a fisheries closure for the area as of Friday
•For more information: Elysha Gordon 250-756-7192

• ICP is operating out of the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council chambers
• During Night Operations, ICP will be located onboard the TULLY, with contingency plans in place to reactivate the full Incident Management Team to Bella Bella in case of a release; transfer of command to the TULLY ICP took place at 2000 yesterday, transfer back to the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council ICP at 0600 today

• Staging Area has been established at Shearwater

• A storm is anticipated developing overnight and into tomorrow; a decision not to weigh down the tug with anchors or 8-tonne cement blocks has been made; no responder has sufficient anchors or blocks that would be able to completely weigh down the tug so it would not move in a storm; this decision was agreed to by Unified Command in consultation with Transport Canada
• Offloading of the Central Coaster barge to the ZBL189 barge completed at 2305; 23348 gallons were transferred to the ZBL189 for eventual transfer to Vancouver for disposal; observations of the offload operations and the casualty tug continued through the night with FLIR cameras, no product observed; salvage crews plan to redeploy to the casualty and resume hot tapping operations as planned

• Due to concerns about the weather and conditions, a decision has been made by Unified Command to stand down small boats this morning; larger boats will start their tasking and hot tapping operations are expected to continue, but responders will be continuously monitoring the weather, and operations may be suspended as necessary; ICP staff has been scaled back as well
• Concerns about the positioning of a barge bringing supplies for the response may require it to be repositioned
• The damaged barge DBL55 departed the scene at 1543, bound for Vancouver in tow with the KIRBY WASHINGTON tug
• Canadian Coast Guard will be augmenting response and safety by cascading in vessels to plan for projected shift to night operations for hot tapping and lightering; TULLY arrived in the area this morning; VECTOR and the NORTH ROCK are mobilizing from Victoria and Prince Rupert, respectively
• WCMRC skimming vessel GM PENMAN arrived in the area yesterday
• All planned booming strategies have been implemented within and at the mouth of Gale Channel; containment and protection booms are being tended as needed; Unified Command has agreed that no protection booming strategies are to be removed until the topic has been discussed and the removal approved
• Contingency plans have been developed by Operations in order to immediately respond to any release during the hot tapping and pumping operations going forward, both during the day and at night; response and surveillance assets will be on scene, and all other resources will be on standby for redirection to the scene if necessary in case of a release
• Collection of sorbents has been ongoing; crews will look to retrieve grounded sorbents, and some oiled debris that was observed
• Communications are to be coordinated to the ICP through the BARTLETT and the MAR-ELL-MIST
• NASP overflight at 1000 today observed an estimated 24 litres (7 gallons) of product on water in the area around the casualty
• NASP overflight at 1300 today observed an estimated 57 litres (15 gallons) of product on water in the area around the casualty
• Overflight assets include NASP aircraft, CCG helicopter and Kirby helicopter
o Air Operations today are contingent on the weather
o Overflight taskings will be coordinated through the ICP, and will be focusing on tactical operations support, observations, and supporting SCAT surveys
o Accountability flight to review the operating area was conducted yesterday and will be conducted end of day going forward

• SCAT crews have been stood down for the day
• Crews report no oil observed in segments surveyed for pre-SCAT yesterday; areas surveyed today were the south entrance to Gale Channel, and within the lagoon in Gale Channel; areas surveyed near the incident site on the south side of Seaforth Channel did observe some stranded oil; Shoreline crews have been working in this area today based off Shoreline Treatment Recommendation approved by Unified Command
• Crews have commended participation between Heiltsuk, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris in pre-SCAT surveys
• Surveys have been focusing on south side of Seaforth Channel and within Gale Channel, and will proceed to north side of Seaforth Channel once these areas are complete; crews will work according to the SCAT Plan which is under review by Unified Command for approval
• Surveys being conducted for the time being are known as ‘pre-SCAT’ surveys; SCAT surveys cannot start until all potential oil has been removed from the water and the tug
• 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 crews have been stood down for the day
• 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 crews report no oiled wildlife observed yesterday; Wildlife crews will be following up with Heiltsuk Guardian Watchmen who have been monitoring area for oiled wildlife and have observed some wildlife in the spill area over the last few days
• 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

• Sampling crews have been stood down for the day
• BC Ministry of Environment is cooperating with Heiltsuk Nation and being supported remotely by Environment Canada
• Environment Canada has been supporting contingency planning for hot tapping and pumping operations with trajectory modelling in case of a release
• BC Ministry of Environment is participating with Heiltsuk and Kirby to implement the Sampling Plan; Sampling Plan is hoped to be submitted for approval by Unified Command today
• BC Ministry of Environment is developing a Waste Plan to support Operations

• Spill information website has been activated

Seaforth Channel Site Specific Forecast

Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

A robust frontal system is currently making landfall on the Central Coast. Strong southeast winds have developed and will persist through today before easing overnight. Another frontal system will begin developing west of the offshore waters midday Thursday and strong southeasterly winds will once again develop overnight Thursday for the Central Coast waters.

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 3:47 AM PDT 19 October 2016 A strong frontal system is currently moving through the northern and central waters. Ahead and along this system winds are gale to Storm force southeasterly.

By late Wednesday the frontal system will move over Vancouver Island and storm force winds will become strong southwesterly Winds through Hecate and Queen Charlotte Sound. Southeasterly gales will persist for Central Coast, West Vancouver Island, North Georgia strait, Johnstone Strait and Queen Charlotte Strait until Thursday morning.

Another strong frontal system approaches the offshore waters late Thursday afternoon and will bring gale force southeasterlies. These gale force southeasterlies will spread into Queen Charlotte Sound, West Haida Gwaii and Hecate Strait late Thursday evening.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 19 October 2016
Today Tonight and Thursday Gale warning in effect. Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots increasing to southeast 35 to 45 this morning then diminishing to southeast 25 to 35 early this evening. Wind diminishing to southeast 20 to 25 Thursday morning and to south 15 near noon Thursday. Wind backing to southeast 20 Thursday evening.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 19 October 2016
Today Tonight and Thursday Seas 3 to 5 metres subsiding to 2 to 3 near midnight.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 19 October 2016
Today Tonight and Thursday A few showers changing to rain late this morning then to a few showers early this evening. Rain after midnight changing to a few showers Thursday afternoon. Visibility 1 mile or less in rain.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 19 October 2016
Friday Wind southwest 15 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 35 in the morning then diminishing to southwest 15 to 25 in the afternoon.
Saturday Wind southwest 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 35.
Sunday Wind southwest 15 to 25 knots backing to south 10 to 20 late in the day.


Gale warning in effect.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 19 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.