Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
November 20, 2016 09:00

Next Situation Report
November 20, 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)
Phil Murdock (Federal Incident Commander)
Graham Knox (Provincial Incident Commander)
Matt Lewis (Kirby Incident Commander)


• When approaching other vessels please communicate intention 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.
• All incidents must be reported immediately by supervisors 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 Scene Safety
• All vessels approved by UC are operational.
• Cape St. James in Seaforth Channel for enforcement of exclusion zones, safety, and support.

Salvage Ops
• Dive surveys have been completed. Debris recovery will continue Monday or Tuesday.

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

• Boats continue to be decontaminated and demobilized as necessary.


• Team 1- Matilda, and Cape Mark – full suite of samples + kelp. Do Matilida first.
• Team 2- : East Tuno, Powell, Oliver Cove, Berry.
• Team 3- Troupe North, Gunboat and Troupe S End.
• Team 4 – Gale Creek East and Gale Creek West.
• 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.

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

• Archaeology in helo for over flight survey.

• 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 (20 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 20 November 2016

Today Tonight and Monday
At 4:00 a.m. PST today low 989 mb located over southeastern Explorer. By 4:00 p.m. PST today weakening low 995 mb located 60 miles northwest of Tofino.

By 10:00 p.m. PST tonight low 1000 mb located near Port Hardy.

At 4:00 p.m. PST today ridge located on a line north-south over Bowie. By 4:00 a.m. PST Monday ridge located on a line north-south over Queen Charlotte Sound.

At 4:00 a.m. PST Monday intensifying frontal system located on a line north-south over Bowie.
By 4:00 p.m. PST Monday frontal system located on a line north-south over Haida Gwaii.


Issued 04:00 AM PST 20 November 2016

Today Tonight and Monday
Storm warning in effect. Wind northeast 5 to 15 knots except north 15 to 25 over southern sections. Wind becoming northwest 10 to 20 early this evening then diminishing to light late overnight. Wind increasing to south 15 to 25 Monday morning and to southeast 25 to 35 near noon Monday. Wind increasing to southeast 40 to 50 Monday afternoon.


Issued 04:00 AM PST 20 November 2016

Today Tonight and Monday
Seas 1 to 2 metres subsiding to 1 this evening then building to 2 to 3 Monday afternoon.


Issued 04:00 AM PST 20 November 2016

Tuesday – Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to southwest 15 to 25 in the morning.
Wednesday – Wind southwest 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 35 late in the day.
Thursday – Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 30 late in the day.