Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 22, 2016 10:00

Operational Period
October 21, 2016, 18:30 hours – October 22, 2016, 06:30 hours

Seaforth Channel, approximately 11nm west of Bella Bella

The Tug Nathan E. Stewart and Barge DBL 55 ran hard aground on the rocks at 10/13/16 (01:13 PDT). The unit was located in Canadian Waters at 52.14.46N, 128.23.160W at the entrance to Seaforth Channel. The tug remains aground on Athlone Island, approximately 11.5 miles from Bella Bella by water. The barge was empty of cargo and was moved to dry dock in Vancouver Harbour. CCG was present when barge arrived and spoke with the barge master, who advised that a minimal amount of fuel was trapped in some of the folded hull. As the vessel was being lifted by the dry dock trace amounts of oil was released. The Port of Vancouver confirmed that there was no recoverable product. The tug is aground in shallow water and is partially submerged. The tug was loaded with 59,924 US gallons of diesel fuel. Kirby was able to confirm that 6554 US gallons of diesel fuel were pumped from the tug into tank 3 port 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 US gals lube oil, 550 US gals hydraulic oil, 550 US gals gear oil, 969 US gals dirty bilge.

• 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
Matt Lewis (Responsible Party Incident Commander)
Jess Housty (Heiltsuk On Scene Commander)
Phillip Murdock (Canadian Coast Guard Federal Incident Commander)
John Kourvel (BC Provincial On Scene Commander)


SAFETY (as of 10:00 hours, 22/10/16)
• As of 07:46 hours (22/10/16) all small vessels have been stood down by Unified Command due to deteriorating weather conditions.
• Winds have increased to 20-25 knots with a swell of 2 m.
• Safety protocols remain in place – as stated on previous situation reports.

• The fisheries closure for bivalve shellfish fisheries in the Seaforth Channel and Gale Passage remains in place.
• For more information contact: Elysha Gordon 250-756-7192

• The ICP continues to operate out of the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council chambers.

• Staging is available at the Bella Bella fuel dock and at Shearwater.
• On-water staging of equipment has been on barges around the response site


21/10/16, 18:30 hours – 22/10/16, 06:30 hours
(PREVIOUS OPERATIONAL PERIOD as of 22/10/16, 10:00 hours)
• The John P. Tully remained on scene running courses east/west checking on the casualty at each pass. No apparent changes occurred over night.
• WCMRC vessels, the GM Penman and Burrard Cleaner #4 visited the site at 02:40 and inspected the area. The GM Penman reported nothing on the FLIR, no visible sheen or odour. At 02:50 hours the GM Penman and Burrard Cleaner 4 returned to Norman Morrison Bay.
• The CCGS Vector stood by at the Bella Bella life boat station. Resumed operations at 06:30 hours on 22/10/16.
• The CCGS Bartlett remained on stand-by throughout the night and resumed active operations at 06:30 hours on 22/10/16.

22/10/16, 06:30 hours – 22/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 22/10/16, 10:00 hours)
• Operational plan for 22/10/16 is to place an additional layer of general purpose boom and 1500’ of kepner boom around the casualty. Crews are expected to inspect the booms integrity hourly, maintain it and replace it as necessary.
• Protection boom at the mouth of Gale Creek will continue to be maintained and replaced as required.
• The CCGS Bartlett has resumed its position as on-scene coordinator as of 22/10/16, 06:30 hours.
• The CCGS Vector prepared to act as safety boat for sampling teams at 06:30 hours.
• The CCGS Tully returned to Bella Bella anchor at 09:30 hours to prepare for night ops.
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay will remain actively skimming down current of the casualty.
• At 07:00 the Bella Bella 1 resumed on water operations between casualty and Bella Bella.


21/10/16, 18:30 hours – 22/10/16, 06:30 hours
(PREVIOUS OPERATIONAL PERIOD as of 22/10/16, 10:00 hours)
• SCAT crews did not survey over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.

22/10/16, 06:30 hours – 22/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATION PERIOD and SITUATION as of 22/10/16, 10:00 hours)
• Pre-SCAT surveys will occur along the south shore of Tinkee River on 22/10/16, covering segments 931 and 932.
• If time permits segments 1715/1716 and 1717 on Ivory Island will also be surveyed.
• The SCAT teams will continue to have representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.
• As of 07:45 hours SCAT teams were stood down due to adverse weather conditions.


21/10/16, 18:30 hours – 22/10/16, 06:30 hours
(PREVIOUS OPERATIONAL PERIOD as of 22/10/16, 10:00 hours)
• Wildlife crews did not actively survey overnight in accordance with Unified Command direction. Surveying will commence at 06:30 hours on the 22/10/16.

22/10/16, 06:30 hours – 22/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 22/10/16, 10:00 hours)
• On 22/10/16 wildlife teams will monitor Gale Creek from Seaforth Channel, transiting south.
• Weather and time pending, monitoring will be conducted at Ivory Island and Paul Anchorage.
• As of 07:46 AM on 22/10/16 wildlife teams were stood down as a result of adverse weather conditions. Surveys will resume as weather permits.


• Sampling crews were stood down for the evening (21/10/16, 18:30 hours – 22/10/16, 06:30 hours) as a result of weather.
• Sampling teams left the staging area at 22/10/16, 06:30 hours. Teams were stood down at 07:46 hours due to weather. Will resume sampling as soon as weather permits.
• BC Ministry of Environment will continue to work with Heiltsuk Nation, supported by Environment Canada in the Environment Unit.
• Environment Canada will continue to support contingency planning for hot tapping and pumping operations with trajectory modeling in the event of a release.
• BC Ministry of Environment is participating with Heiltsuk and Kirby to develop the Sampling Plan and Monitoring Plan; which will be submitted to Unified Command for review.

• Spill information website has been activated

Seaforth Channel Site Specific Forecast

Forecast Issue Time: 06:00 AM PDT 22/10/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Issued by Environment Canada at 06:00 hours on the 22nd of October:
A trough of low pressure just off the Central Coast this morning will produce showers and a risk of thunderstorms with gusty winds this morning. Conditions will improve and winds will diminish as the trough weakens and moves inland later today. Rain will begin overnight as a low approaches and strong southeast winds will develop in the morning. Conditions will improve as the day progresses on Sunday.

Seaforth Channel Weather: On scene update at 10:00 AM 22/10/16
Winds: SES 10-15 kts
Sea: 1m westerly swell + chop
Beaufort sea state: 3
Visibility: 10+ NM
Air temp: 9.4°C
Barometer: 1009.9 mbar and steady
Skies: High overcast 7/8 and no precipitation

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 04:00 AM PDT 22 October 2016
A deepening low will reach the southwest corner of Explorer late this afternoon. The low will then track northward over Explorer tonight and will continue northward over Bowie Sunday. An area of gale force southeast winds will follow the low center northward along the coast, to the right of the low’s track. Southeast winds will reach up to storm force off Northwestern Vancouver island and over parts of Queen Charlotte Sound as the low moves by Sunday morning.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 22 October 2016
Wind southeast 25 – 35 knots diminishing to southeast 15 to 25 early this morning then increasing southeast 25 to 35 late this evening. Wind increasing to southeast 35 to 45 after midnight except east 15 to 25 over northern sections. Wind diminishing to southeast 20 to 30 Sunday morning.


Issued at 04:00 AM PDT, 22 October 2016
Today Tonight and Sunday, Seas 2 to 3 metres building to 3 to 4 after midnight then subsiding to 2 to 3 Sunday afternoon. Seas subsiding to 1 to 2 Sunday evening.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 22 October 2016
Periods of rain. Risk of thunderstorms early this morning.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 22 October 2016
Monday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 35 in the morning.
Tuesday Wind southeast 20 to 30 knots.
Wednesday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots diminishing to light.

Central Coast from McInnes Island to Pine Island
Issued 04:00 AM PDT 22 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.