Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 22, 2016 18:00

Operational Period
October 22, 2016, 06:30 hours – October 22, 2016, 18:00 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)
Philip Murdock (Canadian Coast Guard Federal Incident Commander)
Angie Poss (BC Provincial On Scene Commander)


SAFETY (as of 08:00 hours, 23/10/16)
• Safety protocols remain in place – as stated on previous situation reports.
• Footing issues have been reported down at the docks. Personnel are advised to be aware of footing and areas that could cause slips, trips and falls.

• 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


 22/10/16, 18:30 hours – 23/10/16, 06:30 hours
• The Burrard Cleaner #4 and Strategic TJ assisted with dive operations by tending and maintaining the primary and secondary containment boom. They also assisted with the removal of soiled sorbent boom and pads. At 00:30 hours, crews were directed by the Incident Commander to retreat to Norman Morrision Cove as a result of adverse weather conditions.
• The Eagle Bay and GM Penman remained on scene throughout the evening monitoring the casualty and surrounding area with the FLIR camera. No product was detected with the FLIR. Both vessels remained on stand-by, prepared to skim if required.
• The CCGS Tully provided on-scene coordination and support to on-water ops.
• The CCGS Bartlett remained on stand-by and provided communication support to the CCGS Tully.
• At 07:00 hours (22/10/16) dive teams were on route to the Central Coaster and Northern Lights to start dive operations. At 07:45 hours, crews were stood down as a result of adverse weather conditions. When crews were reactivated at 11:00 hours (22/10/16), they were forced to stand down to crews who were re-positioning containment boom around the casualty. Dive teams stood-by on site.
• At 16:20 (22/10/16) the dive team was re-commissioned and by 17:00 hours the Central Coaster was moored and in place with salvage teams preparing to dive. At 17:33 divers entered the water.
• By 18:27 dive teams had closed all doors and hatches of the Nathan E. Stewart (NES). They’d removed all of the soiled sorbent boom and pads from inside the NES and replaced with clean sorbents.
• The night dive crew effectively performed bottom surveys on the starboard side of the NES along the length of the vessel and 100 feet out. Nothing significant to report.

23/10/16, 06:30 hours – 23/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 23/10/16, 08:00 hours)
• Divers departed the Bella Bella fuel dock at 07:00 hours (23/10/16) and should arrive at the NES by 08:30 hours. They will first inspect the area and vessel, identifying any areas of concern. After which, they will penetrate the vessel to assess internal oiling condition. Pumping operations will commence if required.
• Weather permitting, 1500’ of kepner boom will be placed around the casualty’s primary and secondary containment boom to provide an additional layer of protection.
• Small vessel crews at the casualty site will continue to assist with the removal of soiled sorbent boom.
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay will continue to skim surface product and remain in constant communication with the helo-ASTAR for over-head direction.
• Teams will operate along the west shore of Gale Creek and tend to protection boom as required.
• The CCGS Bartlett will resume its position as the on-scene coordinator, relieving the CCGS Tully and providing support to on-water operations.
• The Bella Bella 1 will continue to provide assistance with personnel transfers between the Bella Bella fuel dock and Shearwater.


22/10/16, 18:30 hours – 23/10/16, 06:30 hours
• SCAT crews did not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.

23/10/16, 06:30 hours – 23/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 23/10/16, 08:00 hours)
• Pre-SCAT surveys will occur as of 08:00 hours along the south shoreline of Seaforth Channel, west of the casualty.
• SCAT teams will continue to have representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.



22/10/16, 18:30 hours – 23/10/16, 06:30 hours
• Wildlife teams did not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.

23/10/16, 06:30 hours – 23/10/16, 18:30 HOURS
(CURRENT OPREATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 23/10/16, 08:00 hours)
• Wildlife teams resumed survey work at 07:00 hours will monitor in Gale Creek, and the south shore of Seaforth Channel, east of the casualty.


• Sampling teams did not survey between 22/10/16, 18:30 and 23/10/16, 06:30. They resumed sampling at 07:00 hours (23/10/16) and will collect samples (tissue, sediment, water and vegetation) along south Seaforth Channel shoreline, Gale Creek Proper east, Gale Creek proper west, Troupe and Gunboat.
• 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 23/10/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Issued by Environment Canada at 06:00 hours on the 23rd of October:
A low will pass offshore early this morning giving gale to storm force southeast winds to BC central waters along with strong outflow winds through mainland inlets. Rain will taper to scattered showers later this morning. A second low will approach Monday night.

Seaforth Channel Weather: On scene update at 04:00 AM 23/10/16
Wind: E 10-15 knots
Seas: 0.5m swell, 1 ft chop
Visibility: 8 NM
Skies: Overcast, rain
Barometrics: 1000.2 mb and steady

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 04:00 AM PDT 23 October 2016
A low just south of Cape St James will track northward reaching Langara Island this afternoon.
Winds will rise to gale to storm force east to southeast to 50 knots near the low. A stronger low moving northward will lie over Southwestern Explorer Monday evening. Winds will rise to storm force east to southeast ahead of the low.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 23 October 2016
Storm warning in effect. Wind southeast 40 to 50 knots except east 20 to 30 over northern sections early this morning. Wind diminishing to southeast 20 to 30 this morning and to southeast 15 to 20 late this afternoon. Wind increasing to easterly 20 to 30 after midnight and to easterly 30 to 35 Monday evening.


Issued at 04:00 AM PDT, 23 October 2016
Today Tonight and Monday Seas 3 to 4 metres subsiding to 2 to 3 late this morning and to 2 late this afternoon.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 23 October 2016
Periods of rain ending early this evening. Periods of rain beginning Monday afternoon.


Issued 06:00 AM PDT 23 October 2016
Tuesday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots.
Wednesday Wind southeast 20 to 30 knots.
Thursday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots.

Central Coast from McInnes Island to Pine Island
Issued 04:00 AM PDT 23 October 2016
‘Storm’ force winds of 48 to 63 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area. Please refer to the latest marine forecasts for further details and continue to monitor the situation through Canadian Coast Guard radio or Weatheradio stations.