Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 22, 2016 18:00

Operational Period
October 22, 2016, 06:30 hours – October 22, 2016, 18:00 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, 128.23.160W at the entrance to Seaforth Channel. The tug remains aground on Athlone Island, approximately 11.5 miles from Bella Bella by water. The barge was empty of cargo and was moved to dry dock in Vancouver Harbour. CCG was present when barge arrived and spoke with the barge master, who advised that a minimal amount of fuel was trapped in some of the folded hull. As the vessel was being lifted by the dry dock trace amounts of oil was released. The Port of Vancouver confirmed that there was no recoverable product. The tug is aground in shallow water and is partially submerged. The tug was loaded with 59,924 US gallons of diesel fuel. Kirby was able to confirm that 6554 US gallons of diesel fuel were pumped from the tug into tank 3 port 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 US gals lube oil, 550 US gals hydraulic oil, 550 US gals gear oil, 969 US gals dirty bilge.

• 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
Matt Lewis (Responsible Party Incident Commander)
Jess Housty (Heiltsuk On Scene Commander)
Phillip Murdock (Canadian Coast Guard Federal Incident Commander)
John Kervel (BC Provincial On Scene Commander)


SAFETY (as of 18:00 hours, 22/10/16)
• As of 07:46 hours (22/10/16) all small vessels have been stood down by Unified Command due to deteriorating weather conditions.
• At 10:15 hours small vessels were re-mobilized after being stood down at 07:46 hours. Teams were directed to resume scheduled operations.
• Safety protocols remain in place – as stated on previous situation reports.
• No near misses or incidents to report as of 22/10/16, 18:00 hours

• 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-water staging of equipment has been on barges around the response site


22/10/16, 06:30 hours – 22/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 22/10/16, 18:00 hours)
• The primary and secondary containment boom around the casualty broke apart as a result of adverse weather at some point between 19:00 hours on 21/10/16 and 06:30 hours on 22/10/16. As of 16:00 hours crews had replaced the broken sections of boom and are currently repositioning and securing the containment boom around the casualty. As of 18:00 hours the 1500’ of Kepner Boom and additional general purpose boom have not yet been positioned around the casualty.
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay actively skimmed around the vicinity of the casualty. The Eagle Bay has begun to effectively collect product. However, the amount collected is insignificant. The Eagle Bay will continue to be directed by the helo-ASTAR.
• Protective boom in Gale Passage has continued to be maintained and secured.
• The CCGS Bartlett has continued to coordinate crews as the on-scene coordinator. At 18:00 hours the CCGS transferred their duties to the CCGS Tully.
• The CCGS Vector acted as the safety boat for sampling teams.
• The CCGS Tully was anchored in Bella Bella preparing for night operations.
• Bella Bella 1 continued transfer operations throughout the day.
• At 07:00 hours dive teams were on route to the Central Coaster and Northern Lights to start dive operations. At 07:45 hours, crews were stood down as a result of adverse weather conditions. When crews were reactivated at 11:00 hours, they were forced to stand down to crews who were re-positioning containment boom around the casualty. Dive teams stood-by on site.
• At 16:20 the dive team was re-commissioned and by 17:00 hours the Central Coaster was moored and in place with salvage teams preparing to dive. At 17:33 divers entered the water.

22/10/16, 18:30 hours – 23/10/16, 06:30 hours
• The CCGS Tully will function as the on-scene coordinator.
• The CCGS Bartlett will assist the CCGS Tully by providing communications relay and preparing for the next operational period.
• The BC#4, GM Penman and Eagle Bay will monitor the situation at the casualty and replace/maintain boom as necessary.


22/10/16, 06:30 hours – 22/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATION PERIOD and SITUATION as of 22/10/16, 16:00 hours)
• Pre-SCAT surveys did occur along the south shore of Tinkee River on 22/10/16. Segments 931 and 932 were surveyed and no oil was observed.
• There was a delay in departure due to adverse weather conditions, however teams were on-route to Tinkee River by 11:00 hours, 22/10/16.
• The SCAT teams had representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.

22/10/16, 18:30 hours – 23/10/16, 06:30 hours
• SCAT crews will not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.
• SCAT teams will resume work at 07:00 hours on the 23rd of October, at which point they’ll survey segments 1806/1807 and 1808 on the south shoreline of Seaforth Channel, west of the casualty.


22/10/16, 06:30 hours – 22/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 22/10/16, 18:00 hours)
• The wildlife field team conducted monitoring on the north shore of Seaforth Channel, from Spiller Channel to Ivory Island. The team then moved to the south shore of Seaforth Channel, and surveyed the area west of the casualty to Cape Swain.
• A Heiltsuk member was onboard to observe wildlife monitoring operations.
• Five sea otters were observed in today’s monitoring area. No whales were observed in the monitoring area. No visibly oil impacted wildlife was observed throughout the area.

22/10/16, 18:30 hours – 23/10/16, 06:30 hours
• Wildlife teams will not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.
• Wildlife teams will resume work at 07:00 hours on the 23rd of October, at which point they’ll monitor in Gale Creek, and the south shore of Seaforth Channel, east of the casualty.


• Sampling teams collected water, sediment, vegetation and tissue samples in the following areas: casualty site, Athlone Cove, Cape Swaine, Gale Passage High Beach, Gale Passage Narrows, East Tuno, Powell Anchorage and Oliver Cove. Objectives for the current operational period (22/10/16, 06:30 – 22/10/16, 18:30) were met.
• BC Ministry of Environment will continue to work with Heiltsuk Nation, supported by Environment Canada in the Environment Unit.
• Environment Canada will continue to support contingency planning for hot tapping and pumping operations with trajectory modeling in the event 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 for review.

• Spill information website has been activated

Seaforth Channel Site Specific Forecast

Forecast Issue Time: 18:00 PM PDT 22/10/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Issued by Environment Canada at 18:00 hours on the 22nd of October:
A low will pass offshore early Sunday morning given gale to storm force southeast winds to BC central waters along with strong outflow winds through mainland inlets. Rain will begin near dawn Sunday and will taper to scattered showers later in the morning. A second low will approach on Monday.

Seaforth Channel Weather: On scene update at 18:00 PM 22/10/16
Winds: ENE 10 kts
Sea: 1m westerly swell + chop
Beaufort sea state: 3
Visibility: 10+ NM
Air temp: 9.8°C
Barometer: 1007.4 mbar and steady
Skies: High overcast 8/8 and no precipitation

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 16:00 PM PDT 22 October 2016
A low over the southwest corner of Explorer late this afternoon. Will track northward reaching Langara Island Sunday afternoon. Winds will rise to gale to storm force east to southeast to 50 knots near the low.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 16:00 PM PDT, 22 October 2016
Storm warning in effect. Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots increasing to southeast 40 to 50 near midnight except east 20 to 30 over northern sections overnight. Wind diminishing to southeast 20 to 30 Sunday morning.


Issued at 16:00 PM PDT, 22 October 2016
Today Tonight and Sunday Seas 2 to 3 metres building to 3 to 4 after midnight then subsiding to 2 to 3 Sunday afternoon.


Issued 16:00 PM PDT, 22 October 2016
Tonight and Sunday periods of rain.


Issued 16:00 PM PDT 22 October 2016
Monday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots increasing to southeast 25 to 35 in the morning.
Tuesday Wind southeast 20 to 30 knots becoming southeast 25 to 35.
Wednesday Wind southeast 15 to 25 knots.

Central Coast from McInnes Island to Pine Island
Issued 16:00 PM PDT 22 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.