Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 18, 2016 06:00

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)


• Vessels have been instructed to make sure that any small boats launched check in with the BARTLETT to ensure they can be accounted for
• Portable UHF repeater has been installed, plan to distribute handheld radios today
WCMRC vessels are fitted with air monitoring resources and will report any safety concerns
• Contingency plans have been developed to shelter vessels in case of deteriorating weather
• 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 vessel decontamination area is available at the GULF RIVAL

•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
• During Night Operations, ICP will be located onboard the TULLY, with contingency plans in place to reactivate the full Incident Management Team to Bella Bella in case of a release; transfer of command to the TULLY ICP took place at 2000 yesterday, transfer back to the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council ICP at 0600 today

• Staging Area has been established at Shearwater

• Operations Briefing took place 0630 at the Heiltsuk Nation Tribal Council this morning; Safety Briefings for Environment and Operations crews at 0700 and 0730
• Canadian Coast Guard will be augmenting response and safety by cascading in vessels to plan for projected shift to night operations for hot tapping and lightering; TULLY arrived in the area this morning; VECTOR and the NORTH ROCK are mobilizing from Victoria and Prince Rupert, respectively
• WCMRC skimming vessel GM PENMAN arrived in the area yesterday
• All planned booming strategies have been implemented within and at the mouth of Gale Channel; containment and protection booms are being tended as needed; Unified Command has agreed that no protection booming strategies are to be removed until the topic has been discussed and the removal approved
• Contingency plans have been developed by Operations in order to immediately respond to any release during the hot tapping and pumping operations going forward, both during the day and at night; response and surveillance assets will be on scene, and all other resources will be on standby for redirection to the scene if necessary in case of a release
• Collection of sorbents has been ongoing; crews will look to retrieve grounded sorbents, and some oiled debris that was observed
• Communications are to be coordinated to the ICP through the BARTLETT and the MAR-ELL-MIST
• NASP overflight at 1600 yesterday observed an estimated 130 litres (34 gallons) of product on water; it is recognized that there is uncertainty in these estimates
• Overflight assets include NASP aircraft, CCG helicopter and Kirby helicopter
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 yesterday and will be conducted end of day going forward
• Divers were in the water at 1445 yesterday to start prep for hot tapping operations; first hot tapping operation commenced at 1619, completed and ready for pumping at 1735; Tapping and pumping operations continued through the night, crews reported 6200 gallons transferred from the tug (as of 0600 today) at a rate of 125 gallons per minute; a leak estimated at 5 gallons was contained and recovered with sorbents in the west end of the containment boom, verified by UAV with infrared camera; Tapping and pumping will be taking place on 24 hour schedule as possible until complete; Lightering Operations are estimated to take 40 hours total to complete; 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, as well as Unified Command

• Crews report no oil observed in segments surveyed for pre-SCAT yesterday; areas surveyed today were the south entrance to Gale Channel, and within the lagoon in Gale Channel; areas surveyed near the incident site on the south side of Seaforth Channel did observe some stranded oil; crews are developing a Shoreline Treatment Recommendation for this area, and it is planned to commence cleanup today if possible, pending approval of the STR by Unified Command
• Crews have commended participation between Heiltsuk, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris in pre-SCAT surveys
• Surveys have been focusing on south side of Seaforth Channel and within Gale Channel, and will proceed to north side of Seaforth Channel once these areas are complete; crews will work according to the SCAT Plan which is under review by Unified Command for approval
• Surveys being conducted for the time being are known as ‘pre-SCAT’ surveys; SCAT surveys cannot start until all potential oil has been removed from the water and the tug
• 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 report no oiled wildlife observed yesterday; Wildlife crews will be following up with Heiltsuk Guardian Watchmen who have been monitoring area for oiled wildlife and have observed some wildlife in the spill area over the last few days
• 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
• Environment Canada has been supporting contingency planning for hot tapping and pumping operations with trajectory modelling in case of a release
• BC Ministry of Environment is participating with Heiltsuk and Kirby to implement the Sampling Plan; Sampling Plan is hoped to be submitted for approval by Unified Command today at 1200
• 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 3:43 AM PDT 18 October 2016 A frontal system will approach the offshore waters late Tuesday.
Ahead of this system winds will rise to gale force southeasterly Tuesday evening over the offshore waters.

By Wednesday morning gale force southeasterlies will develop into Hecate Strait, Central Coast and west coast Vancouver Island. By late Wednesday gale force winds will become strong southwesterly winds.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 18 October 2016
Today Tonight and Wednesday Storm warning in effect. Wind southeast 5 to 15 knots increasing to southeast 15 to 20 near noon and to southeast 20 to 30 this evening. Wind becoming southeast 25 to 35 late overnight then increasing to southeast 40 to 50 Wednesday morning. Wind diminishing to southeast 25 to 35 Wednesday afternoon and to southwest 15 to 25 Wednesday evening.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 18 October 2016
Today Tonight and Wednesday Seas 2 to 3 metres building to 3 to 5 late overnight.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 18 October 2016
Today Tonight and Wednesday A few showers changing to rain Wednesday morning then to a few showers Wednesday evening.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 18 October 2016
Thursday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to southeast 15 to 25 in the morning then becoming southwest 15 in the afternoon.
Friday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to southwest 15 to 25 late in the day.
Saturday Wind southwest 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 35.


Storm warning in effect.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 18 October 2016
‘Storm’ force winds of 48 to 63 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area. Please refer to the latest marine forecasts for further details and continue to monitor the situation through Canadian Coast Guard radio or Weatheradio stations.