Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 24, 2016 18:00

Operational Period
October 24, 2016, 06:30 hours – October 24, 2016, 18:30 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 9.99 nm from Bella Bella by water. The tug is aground in shallow water and is partially submerged. The tug was loaded with 226,840 litres of diesel fuel. Kirby was able to confirm that 24,810 litres 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. As of 24/10/16, 110 131 liters of an oil-water mixture has been pumped off of the vessel. At this time all tanks aboard the tug have been pumped off to a lightering vessel. Protective booming of the tug will remain in place throughout the salvage operation.

• 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)
John Kervel (BC Provincial On Scene Commander)


SAFETY (as of 18:00 hours, 24/10/16)
• At 12:07, 24/10/16, a report was received from the CCGS Bartlett that a member of the operations team bumped their head and experienced pain. They were brought on-board the CCGS Bartlett where a Medic assessed them. They were cleared to go back to work and advised to notify the CCGS Bartlett Medic if conditions changed.
• Safety protocols remain in place – as stated on previous situation reports.
• Footing issues have been reported at the Bella Bella fuel 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


24/10/16, 06:30 hours – 24/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 24/10/16, 18:00 hours)
• At 1007 hours the dive team had completed lightering operations from the Central Coaster to the ZB189 barge in Norman Morrison Cove. The ZB189 and Central Coaster were surrounded by containment boom for the duration of the lightering operation. A Heiltsuk Nation representative was present on scene. The transfer occurred without incident.
• At 1027 hours the Northern Lights and dive team relocated back to the casualty site to resume dive operations. By 1200 hours the dive team entered the water. They inspected the front of the vessel and marked cut locations for salvage operations.
• The NASP overflight at 10:00 (24/10/16) hours observed an oil sheen of 0.0080 kilometers, with an estimated quantity of 1.8 litres. No oil sheen was observed in Gale creek.
• The NASP overflight at 14:00 hour (24/10/16) observed an oil sheen of 0.0047 square kilometres, with an estimated quantity of 1.9 litres.
• Shoreline clean-up operations took place along one of the three oiled shorelines along south Seaforth Channel, adjacent to Gale Creek. The shoreline was flushed using non-invasive, low pressure flushing. The second and third beaches had flushed naturally and will need to be reassessed, with new clean-up recommendations signed off by Unified Command.
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay skimmed in the vicinity of the casualty.
• The drone was stationed on the GM Penman to be used to guide skimming operations, if required.
• Teams maintained damaged boom along Gale Creek. Damaged boom was replaced and anchors repositioned.
• At 1130 hours sheen was observed in the SE Gale Creek lagoon. Samplers visited the site and determined that the sheen observed was organic material. Teams will continue to monitor the situation and sample if necessary.
• A quick action response team has been added to the IAP for tomorrow (25/10/16) to respond to reports of sheen.
• The CCGS Bartlett maintained its position as on-scene coordinator.
• The CCGS Tully remained on stand-by in Bella Bella and prepped for night operations.
• The CCGS Bella Bella 1 provided assistance with personnel transfers.
• The CCGS Vector maintained safety between the casualty and Bella Bella. It was used for day time check-ins.

24/10/16, 18:30 hours – 25/10/16, 06:30 hours
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay will remain on scene, prepared to skim if required.
• The drone and FLIR camera will continue to be stationed on the GM Penman and Eagle Bay, which will be used to monitor the situation.
• The Burrard Cleaner #4 and Strategic TJ will remain on scene, tending to and maintaining the containment boom around the casualty as required.
• The CCGS Tully will provide on-scene coordination and support to on-water ops.
• The CCGS Bartlett will remain on stand-by and provide communication support to the CCGS Tully.



24/10/16, 06:30 hours – 24/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 24/10/16, 18:00 hours)
• SCAT teams monitored shoreline flushing operations along south Seaforth Channel, west of the casualty.
• They also preformed PRE-SCAT surveys in segments 1796 and 1795, which have less than 1% product distribution.
• SCAT teams will had representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.

24/10/16, 18:30 hours – 25/10/16, 06:30 hours
• SCAT crews will not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.



24/10/16, 06:30 hours – 24/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 24/10/16, 18:00 hours)
• The wildlife field team conducted wildlife monitoring along the south shore of Seaforth Channel from Idle Point, west to Cape Swain; and in Gale Creek from Seaforth Channnel to the narrows. A Heiltsuk member was onboard to observe wildlife monitoring operations. One sea otter was observed in today’s monitoring area, west of the casualty. One humpback whale was reported observed north of Gale Rock. One visibly oil impacted Rhinoceros Auklet was observed near the casualty (52° 14.532N 128° 23.221W).

24/10/16, 18:30 hours – 25/10/16, 06:30 hours
• Wildlife teams will not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.


• Sampling teams gathered tissue, sediment, vegetation and water samples in the following locations: Bell Isle Sound, casualty site clam beds, Athlone Cove, Cape Swaine, E.Tuno, Powell Anchorage, Oliver Cove, Berry Inlet, Odin and Dirth.
• Sampling teams will not operate over-night (24/10/16, 18:30 hours – 25/10/16, 06:30 hours) in accordance with Unified Command direction.
• 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: 18:00 PM PDT 24/10/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Issued by Environment Canada at 18:00 hours on the 24TH of October:
A low will approach the BC coast from the south this evening giving increasing outflow winds to the Central Coast inlets. Winds will rise to gale to storm force easterlies offshore overnight tonight.
Strong to Gale force winds are likely to approach the coast as they veer to the southeast on Tuesday afternoon.

Seaforth Channel Weather: On scene update at 16:00 PM 24/10/16
Wind: NNE 15-20
Vis: 10 NM
Sky: 8/8 overcast
Sea state: chop (Beaufort 4)
Air Temp: 12.7C
Baro: 997.3 mbar, falling
Precipitation: none

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 16:00 PM PDT 24 October 2016
A low tracking northward is currently over Southwestern Explorer and will be over Northern Explorer by late Tuesday afternoon.

Winds have risen to gale to storm force east to southeast ahead of the low. Near the headlands of Vancouver Island winds will rise to hurricane force southeasterlies this evening and ease to storm force southeasterlies overnight.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 16:00 PM PDT, 24 October 2016
Storm warning in effect. Wind easterly 20 to 30 knots becoming easterly 25 to 35 early this evening then increasing to east 40 to 50 near midnight. Wind becoming southeast 35 to 45 near noon Tuesday.


Issued at 16:00 PM PDT, 24 October 2016
Today Tonight and Tuesday Seas 2 metres building to 2 to 3 this evening and to 3 to 5 late overnight. Seas subsiding to 3 Tuesday afternoon.


Issued 16:00 PM PDT, 24 October 2016
Tonight and Tuesday Periods of rain.


Issued 16:00 PM PDT 24 October 2016
Wednesday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to southeast 10 to 20 in the morning then backing to northeast 10 to 15 in the afternoon.
Thursday Wind southeast 10 to 15 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 35.
Friday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to northeast 10 to 15.

Issued 16:00 PM PDT 24 October 2016
‘Storm’ force winds of 48 to 63 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area.