Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 24, 2016 08:00

Operational Period
October 23, 2016, 18:30 hours – October 24, 2016, 08:00 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 9.99 nm from Bella Bella by water. The tug is aground in shallow water and is partially submerged. The tug was loaded with 226,840 litres of diesel fuel. Kirby was able to confirm that 24,810 litres 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. As of 24/10/16, 110 131 liters of an oil-water mixture has been pumped off of the vessel, post sinking. At this time all tanks aboard the tug have been pumped off to a lightering vessel. As a precautionary measure crews will maintain containment boom around the Nathan E. Stewart, and sorbent material inside the vessel until the salvage operation is complete, in the event that further oil or sheen is released.

• 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)
Philip Murdock (Canadian Coast Guard Federal Incident Commander)
John Kervel (BC Provincial On Scene Commander)


SAFETY (as of 08:00 hours, 24/10/16)
• Safety protocols remain in place – as stated on previous situation reports.
• Footing issues have been reported at the Bella Bella fuel docks. Personnel are advised to be aware of footing and areas that could cause slips, trips and falls.

• 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


23/10/16, 18:30 hours – 24/10/16, 06:30 hours
• As of 16:34, 23/10/16 hours dive teams had completed pumping out the Gear Oil tank and recovered 6214 litres of an oil, water mixture.
• As of 16:34 hours, 23/10/16 all legal samples have been collected, concluding legal sampling operations.
• As of 16:40, 23/10/16 all tanks containing hydrocarbons on the Nathan E. Stewart have been pumped.
• The GM Penman remained on scene throughout the evening to monitor the casualty and surrounding area with the FLIR camera. No signs of pollution or boom obstruction were reported. The GM Penman was prepared to skim if required.
• At 23:55 (24/10/16), WCMRC vessels the Eagle Bay, Burrard Cleaner #4 and Strategic TJ checked out of the casualty site to prepare the Kepner Boom for deployment during the 24/10/16, 06:30 – 24/10/16, 18:30 operational period. Preparation took place in Norman Morrison Bay.
• Dive teams prepped the Central Coaster in Norman Morrison Cove for eventual salvage of the Nathan E. Stewart.
• The CCGS Tully provided on-scene coordination and support to on-water ops.
• The CCGS Bartlett remained on stand-by and provided communication support to the CCGS Tully.
• The Central Coaster moved from the casualty site to Norman Morrison Cove, where it was prepped for salvage operations.

24/10/16, 06:30 hours – 24/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 24/10/16, 08:00 hours)
• The dive team will lighter the Central Coaster, emptying product into the ZB189 barge in Norman Morrison Cove. The ZB189 and Central Coaster will be surrounded by containment boom for the duration of the lightering operation. A Heiltsuk Nation representative will be present on scene.
• Dive teams will then move the Central Coaster back to the casualty site to continue prep for salvage operation.
• Shoreline clean-up operations will take place on the Southern Shoreline of Seaforth Channel, adjacent to Gale Creek. Non-invasive, low pressure flushing of the shoreline will occur. Flushed product will be contained within shoreline containment boom and collected using sorbents pads and/or skimmers if required.
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay will continue to skim in the vicinity of the casualty.
• A drone will be stationed on the GM Penman and used to direct skimming operations as required.
• Teams will continue to maintain damaged boom along Gale Creek. Damaged boom will be replaced and anchors repositioned.
• The CCGS Bartlett will maintain its position as on-scene coordinator until 18:30 hours (24/10/16) when it will trade off with the CCGS Tully.
• CCGS Tully will remain on stand-by in Bella Bella and prep for night operations.
• The CCGS Bella Bella 1 will continue to provide assistance with personnel transfers.
• The CCGS Vector will continue to maintain safety between the casualty and Bella Bella. It will be used for day time check-ins and relay night communications to the CCGS Tully.



23/10/16, 18:30 hours – 24/10/16, 06:30 hours
• SCAT crews did not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.

24/10/16, 06:30 hours – 24/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 24/10/16, 08:00 hours)
• SCAT teams will monitor shoreline flushing operations, as well as continue to PRE-SCAT the south Seaforth Channel shoreline, west of the casualty.
• SCAT teams will have representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.



23/10/16, 18:30 hours – 24/10/16, 06:30 hours
• Wildlife teams did not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.

24/10/16, 06:30 hours – 24/10/16, 18:30 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 24/10/16, 08:00 hours)
• The wildlife field teams will monitor east and west of Gale Creek on the south shore of Seaforth Channel.


• Sampling teams did not operate over-night (23/10/16, 18:30 hours – 24/10/16, 06:30 hours) in accordance with Unified Command direction.
• Sampling teams will gather tissue, sediment, vegetation and water samples in the following locations: Bell Isle Sound, casualty site clam beds, Athlone Cove, Cape Swaine, E.Tuno, Powell Anchorage, Oliver Cove, Berry Inlet, Odin and Dirth. Sampling at the above locations will occur at 11:00 hours, 24/10/16.
• 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: 06:00 AM PDT 23/10/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Issued by Environment Canada at 06:00 hours on the 24TH of October:
A low will approach the BC coast from the south today giving increasing outflow winds to the Central Coast inlets. Winds will rise to gale to storm force easterlies offshore by dawn Tuesday morning.

Strong to Gale force winds are likely to approach the coast as they veer to the southeast on Tuesday afternoon.

Seaforth Channel Weather: On scene update at 06:00 AM 23/10/16
Wind: ENE 12 knots
Skies: Overcast
Visibility: 10 nm
Seas: 0.3 m swell from the west, 1’ chop
Temp: 9.7 Celcium
Barometrics: 1000.6, dropping quickly

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 04:00 AM PDT 24 October 2016
A low tracking northward will lie over Southwestern Explorer this evening and over Northern Explorer on Tuesday morning.

Winds will rise to gale to storm force east to southeast ahead of the low. Near the headlands of Vancouver Island winds will rise to hurricane force southeasterlies this evening and ease to storm force southeasterlies overnight.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 24 October 2016
Storm warning in effect. Wind easterly 20 to 30 knots increasing to easterly 30 to 35 early this evening and to east 40 to 50 late this evening. Wind becoming southeast 35 to 45 Tuesday morning.


Issued at 04:00 AM PDT, 24 October 2016
Today Tonight and Tuesday Seas 2 metres building to 2 to 3 this evening and to 4 overnight.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT, 24 October 2016
Today, tonight and Tuesday Periods of rain beginning early this afternoon.


Issued 04:00 AM PDT 24 October 2016
Wednesday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots diminishing to southeast 10 to 20 in the morning.
Thursday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots.
Friday Wind southeast 10 to 15 knots backing to northeast 10 to 15.

Issued 04:00 AM PDT 24 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.