Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 16, 2016 09:30

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 manifest of additional liquids aboard at 90% capacity has been prepared, consisting of the following: 639 gals lube oil, 550 gals hydraulic oil, 550 gals gear oil, 969 gals dirty bilge. 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 have led to a near miss, whereby a crew was unable to be reached, until found to be on a different vessel than planned; Communications are hoped to be improved with the installation of a portable VHF repeater today
• 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; sorbent rolls will be available to limit contamination of vessel decks and to reduce slipping hazard
• A Decon Plan has been developed, and a decontamination area is available today

•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 briefing took place at 0630 in ICP, 0800 for on-water Operations; Operations will be directed according to the Incident Action Plan approved by Unified Command
• Secondary containment boom is in place around casualty
• Operations crews will be continuing to implement protection booming in Gale Channel; a new priority is to install a deflection boom between the tug and Gale Channel to augment protection in case of a release during hot tapping and pumping of the tug
• Currentbuster will be deployed in standby position before any hot tapping of the tug starts, in case of any release of product
• Still loose sorbent pads to collect from Gale Channel; 14 bags of sorbents have been collected so far and are being stored in temporary tanks on a barge
• Data from NASP overflight at 1315 have shown light sheen in Seaforth Channel west of Gale Channel entrance, and lighter sheen within Gale Channel; total estimated volume of product observed is 210 litres (55 gallons)
• NASP will have a representative in the ICP tomorrow to validate the observations of product
• 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
o Accountability flight to review the operating area was conducted today, and will be conducted tomorrow
• Tug and barge are considered stable; all vents are plugged on the tug; hot tapping of the tug is planned to start tomorrow, hoping to start pumping fuel out on Monday once Lightering Plan is approved 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 were able to cover approximately 2/3 of North side of Athlone Island
• 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 participating with Heiltsuk and Kirby to implement the Sampling Plan; sampling operations will need development of a plan for night operations to ensure proper tide windows can be met
• BC Ministry of Environment is developing a Waste Plan to support Operations

• Spill information website has been activated

Seaforth Channel Site Specific Forecast

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 3:56 AM PDT 16 October 2016 A ridge of high pressure over the Northern Interior combined with a low off the Alaskan Panhandle this morning has led to gale force outflow near mainland inlets of Dixon Entrance East. Outflow winds are expected to ease below gale force this morning.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 16 October 2016
Today Tonight and Monday Wind light increasing to southeast 15 to 25 knots early this morning and to southeast 30 near noon except east 10 to 15 over northern sections. Wind diminishing to southeast 15 to 25 early this evening.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 16 October 2016
Today Tonight and Monday Seas 3 metres.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 16 October 2016
Today Tonight and Monday A few showers.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 16 October 2016
Tuesday Wind south 10 to 20 knots.
Wednesday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 45 to 55 late in the day.
Thursday Wind southeast 35 to 45 knots veering to south 25 to 35.


No watches or warnings in effect.