Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 26, 2016 08:00

Operational Period
October 26, 2016, 0630 hours – October 26, 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
Jim Guidry (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 0800 hours, 26/10/16)
• 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


25/10/16, 1830 hours – 26/10/16, 0630 hours
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay monitored the casualty with the FLIR camera. They were prepared to skim, if required. No product was observed and the boom maintained its integrity.
• The Burrard Cleaner #4 and Strategic TJ remained on stand-by in Norman Morrison Cove.
• The CCGS Vector provided on scene coordination and support to on-water ops.
• The CCGS Bartlett provided communication assistance to the CCGS Vector and prepped for day operations.
• The dive team prepped the Resolve Pioneer for salvage operations.

26/10/16, 0630 hours – 26/10/16, 1830 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 26/10/16, 1600 hours)
• As of 25/10/16, 1800 hours divers completed 90% of the bathymetric survey surrounding the casualty. The remaining area will be surveyed at 0900 hours (26/10/16).
• At 1100 hours divers will use the drop camera to collect high-definition imagery of the seafloor surrounding the casualty. In conjunction with this, an ecological survey of the area will be completed.
• Divers will also continue to survey the vessel and develop a plan for salvage operations.
• Helicopter overflights will take place at 0830 hours and 1730 hours. The helicopter will also be used to transport protective boom maintenance crews to Gale Creek Lagoon.
• Operations teams will finish setting 1400’ of exclusion boom across the southern end of Gale Creek Lagoon.
• Shoreline ops teams will continue to collect and dispose of soiled sorbent.
• The CCGS Bartlett will provide on-scene coordination to all vessels in the field.
• The CCGS Vector will continue to provide safety support to vessels in the field.
• The CCGS Bella Bella 1 will continue to transfer personnel between Bella Bella and the casualty site.
• The GM Penman and Injenika will deploy and skim with the current buster.
• Binder Breeze will conduct on water recovery
• The Strategic TJ and Burrard Cleaner #4 will continue to maintain containment boom around the casualty.


26/10/16, 06:30 hours – 26/10/16, 1830 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 26/10/16, 0800 hours)
• PRE-SCAT surveys will occur along the east and west side of Raymond Passage (segment numbers 1686-1679 and 1362-1387).
• SCAT teams will have representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.



• 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 – 26/10/16, 06:30 hours) in accordance with Unified Command direction.
• Sampling results from October 14th – 17th were presented to Unified Command on 26/10/16 at 0630 hours. Water PAHs were all below detection limits, with the exception of water collected at the casualty site and Gale Creek, High Beach, which had a few parameters with levels slightly above detection limits. These results correlate with the fact that samples were collected near the boom, immediately around the vessel, where there was visible sheen on the water surface. Please note that these values were all below the BC MoE water quality guidelines for the protection of aquatic life.
• Sediment samples that were collected were also all below detection limits for the protection of aquatic life.
• The areas sampled between October 14th – 17th were Powell Anchorage, Gale Creek at High Beach, Raymond Inlet South, Odin, Gale Creek Proper-east, Athlone Cove area, Dufferin Island, Dundavin Cove, Bachelor Cove, Spinner Channel and Ivory Island.
• 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 26/10/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Issued by Environment Canada at 0600 hours on the 26TH of October:
A weakening low pressure system will move northward from central Bowie to northwest Bowie today. The low will then weaken rapidly over central Bowie tonight and Wednesday. Strong to gale force easterly outflow winds are expected for the area today.

Seaforth Channel Weather: On scene update at 0740 hours (26/10/16)
Winds: EN 15-20 kts
Sea: Light Chop 1 – 2ft
Beaufort Sea State: 4
Visibility: 10+ NM
Air Temp: 11°C
Barometer: 1005.2 mbar, falling slowly
Skies: High overcast 8/8 and no precipitation

Marine Weather Statement


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 26 October 2016
A 996 MB low over Bowie will track slowly northward and dissipate over Northwestern Bowie this evening. A second 996 MB low will approach Southern Explorer this afternoon.

Gales over northern sections will ease this morning. The second low will bring southeast gales near Southern Vancouver Island this afternoon and and to the inner straits tonight.

Gale force outflow in Howe Sound will ease this morning but remain strong through today and tonight.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 26 October 2016
Gale warning in effect. Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to southeast 10 to 20 this morning then backing to northeast 10 to 20 early this evening. Wind becoming south 15 near noon Thursday then backing to southeast 20 Thursday evening.


Issued at 04:00 AM PDT, 26 October 2016
Today Tonight and Thursday Seas 3 to 4 metres subsiding to 2 to 3 early this morning and to 1 to 2 early this evening. Seas subsiding to 1 near midnight then building to 2 Thursday morning.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 26 October 2016
A few showers.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 26 October 2016
Friday Wind northeast 20 to 30 knots.
Saturday Wind northeast 15 to 25 knots.
Sunday Wind southeast 15 knots backing to northeast 15 late in the day.