Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 25, 2016 08:00

Operational Period
October 25, 2016, 0630 hours – October 25, 2016, 1830 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 1800 hours, 24/10/16)
• 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, 1830 hours – 25/10/16, 0630 hours
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay remained on scene and monitored the casualty with the FLIR camera. They were prepared to skim, however it was not required.
• The Resolve Pioneer, salvage vessel, arrived at 1130 hours (24/10/16) and was prepped for salvage operations.
• The Burrard Cleaner #4 and Strategic TJ cleaned up product within the primary containment boom. The GM Penman confirmed with the FLIR camera and spotlight that the product was recovered.
• The CCGS Tully provided on-scene coordination and support to on-water ops, until relieved by the CCGS Bartlett at 0630 hours.

25/10/16, 0630 hours – 25/10/16, 1830 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 25/10/16, 0800 hours)
• Divers will continue to survey the vessel and prep for salvage operations. They will also use a drop camera to gather high quality imagery of the sea-floor around the casualty.
• The Resolve Pioneer will continue to be prepped for salvage operations.
• Crews will continue to maintain protective booming along Gale Creek.
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay will continue to skim around the vicinity of the casualty.
• The CCGS Tully will be taking a representative from SCAT, Sampling and Heiltsuk Nation to Price Island for surveys.
• A quick action response team will respond to reports of sheen or oiled wildlife. They will perform an initial assessment and determine if further sampling is required.
• Overflights will continue to occur every two hours throughout the day with information used to direct skimming operations.
• The CCGS Bartlett will maintain its position as on-scene coordinator.
• The CCGS Bella Bella 1 will provide assistance with personnel transfers.
• The CCGS Vector will maintain its position as safety between the casualty and Bella Bella.



24/10/16, 1830 hours – 25/10/16, 0630 hours
• SCAT crews did not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.

25/10/16, 06:30 hours – 25/10/16, 1830 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 25/10/16, 0800 hours)
• PRE-SCAT surveys will occur along east and west banks of Gale Creek (segments 1792, 1791 and 1790).
• One PRE SCAT Team will be accompanied by a trained sample technician, to proceed to south and east shoreline of Price Island aboard the CCG TULLY and assess any potential shoreline impacts. Findings will be reported Unified Command.
• SCAT teams will have representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.


24/10/16, 1830 hours – 25/10/16, 0630 hours
• Wildlife teams did not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.

25/10/16, 0630 hours – 25/10/16, 1830 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 25/10/16, 0800 hours)
• The wildlife field teams will complete wildlife monitoring along southwest shore Spiller Channel, north shore Seaforth Channel, and Ivory Island/Powell Anchorage (weather dependent).


• Sampling teams will gather 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 did not operate over-night (25/10/16, 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: 06:00 AM PDT 25/10/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Issued by Environment Canada at 0600 hours on the 25TH 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 06:00 AM 25/10/16
Wind: ENE 15
Vis: 10 NM
Sky: Overcast
Sea state: 0.5 – 1 m swell, 1-2’ chop
Air Temp: 14.7C
Baro: 994.6 mbar, steady

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 04:00 AM PDT 25 October 2016
An intense 976 MB low over Northern Explorer will track slowly northward today and weaken to 996 MB by the time it reaches Central Bowie late tonight. A second 990 MB low will approach Southern Explorer late Wednesday.

Over southern waters gale to storm force southeast winds will ease to strong to gale force southerlies this morning and then to moderate to strong southeast tonight. Strong to gale force southeasterlies will prevail over the inner straits today. The second low will bring southeast gales to southern sections late Wednesday.

Over central waters gale to storm force easterly winds will become gale force southeast this morning while the far north will experience strong northeast winds today except gale force outflow near the mainland inlets. Winds will become strong to gale force southeast overnight then moderate to strong southeast on Wednesday.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 25 October 2016
Storm warning in effect. Wind easterly 40 to 50 knots becoming southeast 35 to 45 near noon then diminishing to southeast 25 to 35 late overnight. Wind diminishing to southeast 10 to 20 Wednesday morning then backing to northeast 10 to 20 Wednesday evening.


Issued at 04:00 AM PDT, 25 October 2016
Today Tonight and Wednesday Seas 4 to 6 metres subsiding to 3 to 4 late this afternoon and to 2 to 3 Wednesday morning. Seas subsiding to 1 to 2 Wednesday evening.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 25 October 2016
Today Tonight and Wednesday Periods of rain ending Wednesday morning.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 25 October 2016
Thursday Wind northeasterly outflow 25 to 35 knots becoming southeast 20 to 30 in the afternoon.
Friday Wind northeast 20 to 30 knots.
Saturday Wind northeast 15 to 25 knots.

Issued 04:00 AM PDT 25 October 2016
‘Storm’ force winds of 48 to 63 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area.