Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 21, 2016 20:00

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)


• As of 06:50 hours, 21/10/16, all small and medium sized vessels have been given permission by Unified Command to resume work.
• As of 14:00 hours (21/10/16) all vessels have been stood down by Unified Command due to deteriorating weather conditions.
• SCAT teams surveying along Gale Creek today (21/10/16) were evacuated by helicopter due to adverse weather conditions and arrived safely at the airport at 14:30 hours.
• Vessels have been instructed to make sure that any small boats launched check in with the BARTLETT to ensure they can be accounted for
• Handheld UHF radios have been distributed as needed, working with the repeater installed yesterday; ICP and on-water crews report good reception
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 Day and Night Operations

• Staging available at Bella Bella Fuel Dock and Shearwater
• On-water staging of equipment has been on barges around the response site


20/10/16, 18:30 hours – 21/10/16, 06:30 hours
• All vessels were stood down or stood by on scene for the night between 20/10/16, 18:30 and 21/10/16, 06:30.
• At 01:13 hours on 21/10/16, the Central Coaster, standing-by on scene, reported a section of secondary containment boom that had been set onto a rock formation during low tide. The Eagle Bay deployed the FLIR to evaluate the situation. The FLIR did not indicate any product outside of the secondary containment. The GM Penman was alerted of the situation and put on standby, prepared to launch at any point from Bella Bella. Drones were launched at 03:45 with a delay in time due to weather conditions. The drone FLIR did detect coloration, potentially indicating sheen outside the secondary boom barrier. As a result, the Eagle Bay was deployed to actively skim in the area down current from where the boom had lifted off the rocks. The Eagle Bay did not detect any product in their skimmers. The GM Penman remained on stand-by as to not impede operations for today (21/10/16, 06:30 – 18:30).

21/10/16, 06:30 hours – 21/10/16, 18:30 hours
• As of 06:30, weather depending, the plan was to place an additional layer of general purpose boom around the casualty as well as an additional 1500’ of Kepner Boom. Sorbent boom was to be replaced and monitored every hour to ensure booms integrity and effectiveness were maintained.
• Due to extreme weather conditions, as of 14:00 hours on 21/10/16, Kepner Boom had not been placed around the casualty. The primary boom remained intact and holding, while the secondary boom opened after stranding on the rocks. Crews are unable to approach the secondary boom until weather subsides and will re-connect boom as soon as weather permits. Kepner boom will also be deployed as soon as weather permits.
• The Eagle Bay, GM Penman and Current Buster have continued to actively skim in the vicinity of the casualty between 07:00 and 14:00 hours.
• At 14:00 hours all vessels were stood down due to weather and asked to return to base, or find shelter in a protected cove.
• Replacement and collection of sorbents and solid waste has been ongoing; crews have collected 319 bags of solid waste so far; bags are being stored in double lined storage bins for eventual transport to Vancouver for disposal
• Dive teams arrived at the casualty by 08:30 hours, however due to deteriorating weather conditions were stood down and instead prepped for the next operational period. Teams are prepared to commence operations as soon as weather permits. Crews will remain on stand-by in Norman Morrison Bay throughout the night.
• 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 pumping operations, both during the day and at night; response and surveillance assets will be on scene, and all other available resources will be on standby for redirection to the scene if necessary in case of a release
• NASP overflights occurred at 10:00 hours and 14:00 hours. During the first overflight (10:00 hours), an oily sheen of 0.33 square kilometres was measured around the casualty with an estimated quantity of 91 litres. No oil sheen was observed in Gale Creek area. No marine mammals were observed in the area.
• During the second overflight (14:00 hours on 21/10/16), an oily sheen of 0.98 square kilometres was measured around the casualty with an estimated quantity of 317 litres. Primary and secondary boom around the casualty was observed to be damaged and/or out of place. No oil sheen was observed in the Gale Creek area, although oil sheen was encroaching some of the containment boom at the entrance to the inlet. No marine mammals were observed in the area.
• On water ops will remain on scene, tend to and repair the boom as soon as weather permits.

21/10/16, 18:30 hours – 22/10/16, 06:30 hours
• The CCGS John P. Tully will be standing by on scene tonight (21/10/16).
• The CCGS Vector will be standing by at the Bella Bella life boat station and completed watering this evening.
• The CCGS Bartlett will be taking water alongside government dock. It will also be available if required.
• The Burrard Clean #4, GM Penman and Eagle Bay will be standing-by in Dundavin Bay and available if necessary.
• Dive teams will be standing by and commence operations as weather permits.
• SCAT teams, wildlife and sampling teams have been stood down due to poor weather.


20/10/16, 18:30 hours – 21/10/16, 06:30 hours
• SCAT crews did not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.
• SCAT teams will resume work at 07:00 hours on the 21st of October.

21/10/16, 06:30 hours – 21/10/16, 18:30 hours
• 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.
• The south shore of Seaforth Channel, west of the casualty was surveyed to assess shoreline clean-up operations, completed on the 18th of October. Clean-up operations proved successful however will need to be reassessed after the casualty has been successfully removed.
• The shoreline along the south of Seaforth Channel, west of the casualty, and western shoreline of Gale Creek were surveyed today (21/10/16). Light sheen was observed. A treatment plan will be developed and presented to Unified Command for sign-off.
• A treatment plan and end-points plan will be developed and will need to be agreed upon and signed off by Unified Command.
• Heiltsuk Nation, CCG, Ministry of Environment (MoE), BC Parks and Polaris continue to be represented on SCAT teams.

21/10/16, 18:30 hours – 22/10/16, 06:30 hours
• SCAT crews will not survey overnight in accordance with Unified Command direction.

22/10/16, 06:30 hours – 22/10/16, 18:30 hours
• Tomorrow (22/10/16), pre-SCAT surveys will occur along the south shore of Tankeeah River covering segments 931 and 932.
• If time permits segments 1715/1716 and 1717 on Ivory Island will also be surveyed.
• The SCAT teams will continue to have representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.


20/10/16, 18:30 hours – 21/10/16, 06:30 hours
• Wildlife crews were not actively surveying overnight in accordance with Unified Command. Surveying will commence at 06:30 hours on the 21/10/16.

21/10/16, 06:30 hours – 21/10/16, 18:30 hours
• Wildlife crews surveyed the southwest shore of Spiller Channel, the south shore of Seaforth Channel and to the east and west of the spill site.
• The north side of Seaforth Channel and west side of Spiller Channel were also surveyed until teams were stood down at 13:30 hours.
• Wildlife Hotline continues to remain active: 877-323-3985
• Operations crews have been instructed to report any wildlife sightings through MAR-ELL-MIST for relay to the ICP.
• Wildlife crews will continue to follow-up with Heiltsuk Guardian Watchmen who have been monitoring the area for oiled wildlife.
• Public and responders are again urged not to attempt to handle any oiled wildlife and follow proper wildlife handling and notifications protocols.

21/10/16, 18:30 hours – 22/10/16, 06:30 hours
• Wildlife crews will not actively survey overnight in accordance with Unified Command direction. Surveying will commence at 06:30 hours on the 22/10/16.

• Sampling crews have been stood down for the evening (21/10/16) as a result of weather. Will resume sampling tomorrow (22/10/16) at 07:00 hours.
• 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 develop the Sampling Plan and Monitoring Plan; which will be submitted to unified command today (21/10/16) for approval.
• BC Ministry of Environment is developing a Waste Plan to support Operations

• Spill information website has been activated

Seaforth Channel Site Specific Forecast

Forecast Issue Time: 18:00 PM PDT 10/21/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

The forecast as of 18:00 hours on the 21st of October is the following: An approaching trough of low pressure will produce showers and a risk of heavy showers and thunderstorms with gusty winds tonight. Saturday will see improving weather and diminishing winds as the trough weakens and moves inland. Rain will begin Saturday night as a low approaches and winds will rise to southeast gales 35 by Sunday morning.

Seaforth Channel Weather: On scene update at 18:00 PM 21/10/16
Current Conditions:
Wind: SSE 10 knots
Visibility: 5 NM
Precipitation: Drizzle
Swell: 2m-3.5m swell from the West
Barometer: 1004 steady

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 16:00 PM PDT 21 October 2016
A trough of low pressure will move quickly across central BC waters tonight giving a chance of gale force southeasterlies to 35 knots to the Central Coast.

A low will move northward across Explorer Saturday night. Winds will rise to gale force southeast over southern waters ahead of the low late Saturday.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 16:00 PM PDT, 21 October 2016
Wind south 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 35 late this evening then diminishing to southeast 15 to 25 late overnight. Wind becoming southeast 20 to 30 Saturday afternoon.


Issued at 16:00 PM PDT, 21 October 2016
Today Tonight and Saturday Seas 3 to 5 metres subsiding to 2 to 3 early Saturday morning.


Issued 16:00 PM PDT, 21 October 2016
Tonight and Saturday Periods of rain. Risk of thunderstorms late this afternoon and tonight.


Issued 16:00 PM PDT 21 October 2016
Sunday Wind southeast 35 to 45 knots diminishing to southeast 15 to 25 in the afternoon.
Monday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots.
Tuesday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots.

Central Coast from McInnes Island to Pine Island
Issued 16:00 AM PDT 21 October 2016