Seaforth Channel Incident

Incident Start Date
October 13, 2016 01:13

Current Date/Time
October 25, 2016 14:00

Operational Period
October 25, 2016, 0630 hours – October 25, 2016, 1830 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. At this time all tanks aboard the tug have been pumped off to a lightering vessel. Protective booming of the tug will remain in place throughout the salvage operation.

• 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 1600 hours, 25/10/16)
• 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


25/10/16, 0630 hours – 25/10/16, 1830 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 25/10/16, 1600 hours)
• Divers surveyed the Nathan E. Stewart and prepped for salvage operations. Vent holes were cut in ballast tanks and pin room. No holes were cut in tanks that previously contained fuel or oil.
• Divers completed a bathymetric survey of the area surrounding the casualty within the primary containment boom by 1130 hours (25/10/16).
• The Resolve Pioneer, a tug that will support salvage operations, was staged and prepped.
• Crews maintained protective booming along Gale Creek. An additional 1400’ of general purpose boom was flown and dropped in the south Gale Creek Lagoon. As of 14:00 hours crews were setting up the protective booming.
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay skimmed around the vicinity of the casualty.
• The CCGS Tully transported representatives from SCAT, Sampling and Heiltsuk Nation to Price Island. Surveys were completed.
• NASP overflights were stood down due to weather.
• Helicopter overflights occurred every two hours throughout the day and directed skimming operations.
• The CCGS Bartlett provided on scene-coordination to all vessels in the field.
• The CCGS Bella Bella 1 transferred personnel between Bella Bella and the casualty site.
• The CCGS Vector provided safety support to vessels in the field.

25/10/16, 1830 hours – 26/10/16, 0630 hours
• The GM Penman and Eagle Bay will remain on scene and monitor the casualty with the FLIR camera. They are prepared to skim, if required.
• The Burrard Cleaner #4 and Strategic TJ will maintain containment boom around the casualty.
• The CCGS Tully has departed for provisions and fueling requirements. The CCGS Vector will provide on scene coordination and support to on-water ops.
• The CCGS Bartlett will provide communication assistance to the CCGS Tully and prep for day operations.
• The dive team will survey the exterior of the Nathan E. Stewart and secure the port side door.


25/10/16, 06:30 hours – 25/10/16, 1830 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 25/10/16, 1600 hours)
• PRE-SCAT surveys occurred along the east and west banks of Gale Creek (segments 1792, 1791 and 1790).
• SCAT teams, sampling teams and a representative from Heiltsuk Nation flew the drone along the east coast of Price Island. No signs of diesel or oil were observed from the air. Ground teams saw no signs of diesel or oil along the shoreline in Higgins Passage to the north end of Price Island where the helicopter was able to land.
• Specific clam digging locations, identified by a Heiltsuk Nation representative on site were investigated and found to be free of any obvious defects from the incident.
• Two water samples and one sediment sample from the clam digging site on Price Island were collected for further analysis.
• SCAT teams had representation from Heiltsuk Nation, BC Parks, CCG, BC Ministry of Environment and Polaris.

25/10/16, 1830 hours – 26/10/16, 0630 hours
• SCAT crews will not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.


25/10/16, 0630 hours – 25/10/16, 1830 hours
(CURRENT OPERATIONAL PERIOD and SITUATION as of 25/10/16, 1600 hours)
• The wildlife field teams completed surveys along southwest Spiller Channel, north shore of Seaforth Channel, Powell Anchorage/Ivory Island and Gearth Island. No oiled or impacted wildlife were observed.

25/10/16, 1830 hours – 26/10/16, 0630 hours
• Wildlife teams will not operate over-night in accordance with Unified Command direction.


• Sampling teams gathered 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 teams will not operate over-night (25/10/16, 18:30 hours – 26/10/16, 06:30 hours) in accordance with Unified Command direction.
• 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 25/10/2016
Seaforth Channel Specific Synoptic Discussion

Issued by Environment Canada at 0600 hours on the 25TH of October:
A low will approach the BC coast from the south this evening giving increasing outflow winds to the Central Coast inlets. Winds will rise to gale to storm force easterlies offshore overnight tonight.

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 1400 hours (25/10/16)
Winds: Light airs
Sea: Light chop ~ 1 ft
Beaufort sea state: 1
Visibility: 10 NM
Air temp: 12.0°C
Barometer: 1002.67 mbar, rising
Skies: High overcast 8/8
Precipitation: light drizzle

Marine Weather Statement

Issued 10:30 AM PDT, 25 October 2016
An intense 980 MB low over Northern Explorer will track slowly
northward today and weaken to 996 MB by the time it reaches Central
Bowie late tonight. A second 992 MB low will approach Southern
Explorer late Wednesday.

Over southern waters strong to gale force southerly winds will ease
to moderate to strong southeast tonight. Strong to gale force
southeasterlies will prevail over the inner straits today. The second
low will bring southeast gales to southern sections late Wednesday.

Over central waters gale to storm force easterly winds will become
gale force southeast late this morning while the far north will
experience strong northeast winds today except gale force outflow
near the mainland inlets. Winds will become strong to gale force
southeast overnight then moderate to strong southeast on Wednesday.

Central Coast Marine Forecast (Environment Canada)


Issued 10:30 AM PDT, 25 October 2016
Storm warning in effect. Wind easterly 40 to 50 knots becoming southeast 35 to 45 near noon then diminishing to southeast 25 to 35 late overnight. Wind diminishing to southeast 10 to 20 Wednesday morning then backing to northeast 10 to 20 Wednesday evening.


Issued at 10:30 AM PDT, 25 October 2016
Today Tonight and Wednesday Seas 4 to 6 metres subsiding to 3 to 4 late this afternoon and to 2 to 3 Wednesday morning. Seas subsiding to 1 to 2 Wednesday evening.


Issued 10:30 AM PDT, 25 October 2016
Today Tonight and Wednesday Periods of rain ending Wednesday morning.


Issued 10:30 AM PDT 25 October 2016
Thursday Wind northeasterly outflow 25 to 35 knots becoming southeast 20 to 30 in the afternoon.
Friday Wind northeast 20 to 30 knots.
Saturday Wind northeast 15 to 25 knots.

Issued 11:00 AM PDT 25 October 2016
‘Storm’ force winds of 48 to 63 knots are occurring or expected to occur in this marine area.