Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
November 19, 2016 09:00

Next Situation Report
November 19, 2016 -17:00 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, 128.23.16W at the entrance to Seaforth Channel. As of 14 November at 1609 PST, the tug Nathan E. Stewart was removed from the sea floor and secured to a transport barge. As a result of the initial tug grounding, diesel fuel and other lubricants were released from the tug Nathan E. Stewart.

The tug was loaded with 237,262 litres of diesel fuel. 24,670 litres of diesel fuel was transferred from the tug into the tank 3 port cargo tank on the barge before the pumps failed due to water in the engine room. As of 11 Nov 2016, after water separation 94,624 liters of diesel/oil mixture was verified to have been pumped off of the tug. Protective booming of the tug will remain in place throughout the salvage operation. Initial calculations based on volumes recovered have been revised and are 107,552 litres (up from 101,104 litres) of diesel and 2,240 litres (down from 3,668 litres) of lubricants (lube oil, hydraulic oil, gear oil, and spent lube) released to the environment. These numbers are considered final calculations.

On November 17, at 11:30 am, the Nathan E. Stewart aboard the MLT 4000-2, departed Seaforth Channel to Surrey.

• Ensure the safety of public and response personnel
• Provide proper PPE to all Personnel
• Secure the vessel and refloat/remove from the marine environment
• Control the source
• Containment & collection during repositioning & lifting operation
• Maximize protection of environmentally-sensitive areas, prioritizing of sample collection
• Contain, Recover and Dispose of Spilled Material
• Remove oil from impacted areas
• Recover and rehabilitate impacted 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 Heiltsuk community and the environment
• Minimize local business interruption
• Maintain focus on mitigating and assessing environmental damage
• After removal of the Nathan E Stewart, assess damage to the habitat and develop a restoration plan pursuant to SARA Certificate

Unified Command
Jess Housty (Heiltsuk Nation Incident Commander)
Jeff Brady (Federal Incident Commander)
Graham Knox (Provincial Incident Commander)
Matt Lewis (Kirby Incident Commander)


• When approaching other vessels please communicate intension and take care when doing vessel to vessel transfers.
• Safety inspections are being conducted for all vessels on the response
• Safety protocols remain in place – as stated on previous situation reports.
• All responders not receiving operational text message updates are to ensure their contact information is updated with the ICP.
• All incidents must be reported immediately by supervisors and without delay so an adequate safety investigation can be completed.

• 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


On Scene Safety
• All vessels approved by UC are operational.
• 200 meter exclusion zone around original casualty site will be enforced during dive operations.
• Cape St. James in Seaforth Channel for enforcement of exclusion zones, safety, and support.

Salvage Ops
• Sea floor survey continues at casualty site.

Spill Response Ops
• Clean up crews walking the south shore of Seaforth Channel east and west of Gale Creek

Air Operations
• Observation flight at 0900, accountability flight at 1600.

• Boats continue to be decontaminated and demobilized as necessary.


• Team 1- Sites: Diving the casualty site
• Team 2- : Gale Passage High Beach, Gale Passage Narrows and Berry Inlet.
• Team 3- Raymond, Matilda and Quynoot.
• Team 4 – Casualty, Athlone and Cape Swaine. All are index sites.
• Sampling will continue to follow plan.
• Overall sampling includes tissue, sediment, water, and vegetation sampling.
• Environment Canada continues to support planning and site specific weather forecasting.

• SCAT surveying east and west of Gale Creek entrance.

• Wildlife monitoring has now shifted to the Carcass Recovery plan, and surveying will take place on days when sampling does not occur.

• Archaeology surveying at Gale Creek.

• Cultural briefings are available for all incoming personnel.
• Spill information website has been activated

On scene update from CCGS Gordon Reid
0800 ON WATER WEATHER REPORT (19 Nov 2016)
M/V Nathan E Stewart Incident, Seaforth Channel
CCGS Gordon Reid

Position of Gordon Reid:
At anchor in Seaforth Channel (52° 14.907’ N 128° 23.944’ W)

Weather at Gordon Reid:
Wind: E 10 kts,
Seas: 0.4m swell from W, 8 second period
Skies: 8/8
Barometer: 1000.0 mb
Visibility: 8 NM
Temp: 8.5 C
Precipitation: Rain

Environment Canada Marine Forecast – Central Coast from McInnes Island to Pine Island (0400):

Gale warning in effect. Wind east 5 to 15 knots except southeast 25 to 35 over southern sections. Wind becoming northeast 5 to 15 Sunday afternoon except north 15 to 25 over southern sections.


Gale rocks site cleanup and shore survey ongoing. Dive operations planned at the NES site.


Technical Marine Synopsis
Issued 4:00 AM PST 19 November 2016

Today Tonight and Sunday
At 4:00 a.m. PST today low 982 mb located 250 miles southwest of Explorer. By 4:00 p.m. PST today low 984 mb located southwest of Explorer. At 4:00 a.m. PST Sunday low 988 mb located 100 miles northwest of Tofino. By 4:00 p.m. PST Sunday weakening low 996 mb located near Port Hardy. At 4:00 a.m. PST today frontal system located off Vancouver Island. By 10:00 a.m. PST today weakening frontal system located over Cape Scott.


Issued 04:00 AM PST 19 November 2016

Today Tonight and Sunday
Gale warning in effect. Wind east 5 to 15 knots except southeast 25 to 35 over southern sections. Wind becoming northeast 5 to 15 Sunday afternoon except north 15 to 25 over southern sections.


Issued 04:00 AM PST 19 November 2016

Today Tonight and Sunday
Seas 2 to 3 metres subsiding to 1 to 2 late this morning.


Issued 04:00 AM PST 19 November 2016

Monday – Wind variable 5 to 15 knots increasing to southeast 15 to 25 in the afternoon and to southeast 25 to 35 late in the day.
Tuesday – Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to southwest 15 to 25.
Wednesday – Wind southwest 15 to 25 knots backing to southeast 30 late in the day.