Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 15, 2016 14:30

Seaforth Channel, approximately 11nm west of Bella Bella

Tug Nathan E. Stewart and Barge DBL 55 ran hard aground on the rocks at 10/13/16 (01:13 PDT) yesterday morning. The unit was located in Canadian Waters at 52.14.46N, 128.23.160W at the entrance to Sea Forth Channel. The tug remains aground on Athlone Island, approximately 11.5 miles from Bella Bella by water. The barge was empty of cargo and has since been moved to a safe anchorage, at the mouth of Dundavan Inlet. Water ingress has been detected in the number 2,3, and 5 void tanks; all other barge voids and all cargo compartments have been inspected and there is no sign of water ingress. The tug is aground in shallow water and is partially submerged (only the mast is showing) in 9 metres of water. After the incident it was reported that the 1Center, and 1Starboard fuel tanks were breached. The tug was loaded with 59,924 gallons of diesel fuel. Kirby was able to confirm that 6554 gallons of diesel fuel were pumped from the tug into tank 6 on the barge before the pumps failed due to water in the engine room. A positive manifest of additional liquids aboard is being prepared. Tug is considered in a stable position; it is sitting on the bottom with a roughly 12* list to port, and is not currently moving in the swell.

• 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)
William Housty (Heiltsuk On Scene Commander)
Jeff Brady (Canadian Coast Guard Federal Incident Commander)
John Kervel (BC Provincial On Scene Commander)


• Communications challenges and an ineffective morning safety briefing have led to a near miss, whereby a crew was unable to be reached, until found to be on a different vessel than planned
• WCMRC vessels are fitted with air monitoring resources and will report any safety concerns
• Site Specific Safety Plan is being continuously developed and is to be followed by all responders
• Personal Protective Equipment stocks will be located on the MAR-ELL-MIST and the BARTLETT to ensure continued availability on scene

•Fisheries and Oceans Canada have put in place a fisheries closure for the area as of Friday
•For more information: Elysha Gordon 250-756-7192 

• ICP is operating out of the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council chambers
• ICP staff are transitioning the response to the Planning Phase, and Operations will be implementing the first Incident Action Plan today

• Staging Area has been established at Shearwater

• Operations being directed according to the Incident Action Plan; amendments to the Incident Action Plan include a reprioritization to take advantage of good weather to recover as many sorbent pads as possible from Gale Channel, and a reprioritization of protection booming within Gale Channel
• Secondary containment boom is in place around casualty
• Majority of sorbent pads have been collected from Gale Channel, overflight observed some remaining in small tidal pools off the channel
• Most recent overflight observed very light sheen along shore of Seaforth Channel, considered unrecoverable; minimal streaking in the entrance to Gale Channel, and no sheen observed past the tidal rapids; on-water observations still observing very light sheen within Gale Channel
• Communications are to be coordinated to the ICP through MAR-ELL-MIST
• Priorities for on-water responders today are to install secondary containment booming around casualty, install protection booming at locations in Gale Channel, and continue to recover product as possible with sorbents
• Currentbuster system is to be deployed, and will be attempting recovery in the areas of thickest concentration
• Initial overflight this morning shows containment around the casualty appears effective in the current conditions
• Skimming considered ineffective thus far due to limited thickness of product
• Additional WCMRC equipment and contractor personnel have been mobilized from Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island and South Coast and will be arriving at various times today and tomorrow
• Available overflight assets include CCG helicopter and Kirby helicopter; NASP aircraft has been requisitioned and will be arriving on scene with ETA of 1300
o Overflight taskings will be coordinated through the ICP, and will be focusing on tactical operations support, observations, and supporting SCAT surveys
• Tug and barge are considered stable; all vents are plugged on the tug; lightering plan is being developed to remove fuel from the tug with hot taps, hoping to start pumping fuel out on Monday, and a salvage plan is in development to follow once lightering is complete; plan is to remove the tug from the water with a crane and place it on a barge for transit; no repairs are to be attempted in the water; lightering plan is also in development to remove product from the damaged barge, then transit plan to remove from the area; Transport Canada will be assisting in salvage assessments of the tug and barge and will be approving any plans developed

SCAT crews conducted intial overflight, and are developing plan to start surveys
• Polaris Applied Sciences has been hired to lead SCAT
o SCAT Teams will be comprised of at least:
 1 RP Representative
 1 Heiltsuk Representative
 1 Provincial Representative
• SCAT teams survey the area to collect geo-referenced data on shoreline oiling conditions in a systematic process, using standardized methods and terminology.
• The shoreline oiling surveys will be used to create shoreline treatment recommendations (STRs). These will direct how the cleanup operations will take place.

• Wildlife Hotline has been activated: 877-323-3985
• Operations crews have been instructed to report any wildlife sightings through the MAR-ELL-MIST for relay to the ICP
• Wildlife crews has started assessments
• Wildlife assessment teams will include representatives from Heiltsuk Nation
• Focus Wildlife has been contracted to lead Wildlife
• Public and responders are urged not to attempt to handle any oiled wildlife

• BC Ministry of Environment is cooperating with Heiltsuk Nation and being supported remotely by Environment Canada
• BC Ministry of Environment is leading development of a Sampling Plan, has been collaborating with Heiltsuk and Kirby to take samples
• BC Ministry of Environment is developing a Waste Plan to support Operations

• Spill information website has been activated

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 10:23 AM PDT 15 October 2016
A 976 MB low off the Oregon coast late this morning will deepen to 970 MB as it reaches Barkley Sound by early this evening.

Winds will rise to gale to storm force easterly or southeasterly to 55 knots over Southern BC waters by early this evening. Winds will veer to gale to storm force south or southwesterlies off Southern Vancouver Island and through Howe Sound later in the evening before quickly easing.

Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 10:30 AM PDT 15 October 2016
Today Tonight and Sunday Wind southeast 25 to 30 knots diminishing to northeast 10 to 15 early this evening and to light late overnight. Wind increasing to southeast 15 to 25 early Sunday morning.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 15 October 2016
Today Tonight and Sunday Seas 3 to 4 metres subsiding to 3 this morning.


Issued 10:30 AM PDT 15 October 2016
Today Tonight and Sunday A few showers.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 15 October 2016
Monday Wind light becoming southeast 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.
Tuesday Wind south 10 to 15 knots.
Wednesday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 45 to 55 late in the day.


No watches or warnings in effect.