Shoreline cleanup crews have been deployed to try to recover diesel contaminating tidal beaches and rocky shoreline areas from the sunken Nathan E. Steward tug in Heiltsuk waters. The tug ran aground and sank on Oct. 13 in Seaforth Channel, about 20 kilometres west of Bella Bella.
Trapped oil has been discovered in at least three coves in Seaforth Channel, reads a press statement from the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs Oct. 24.
Beach crews have been deployed to find stranded oil on beaches and rocky shoreline areas. Crews will be raking beaches to bring up diesel trapped six to eight inches below the surface and flush it out with water, an ongoing process that will have to be repeated in the same areas over the coming weeks.
Incident Command reported this morning that divers discovered at least one of the heavy oil tanks on the tug was damaged and contained seawater. Heiltsuk are concerned about the additional impacts of heavy oil from the tug on marine life in the area.
Schools of juvenile herring were filmed at the dirty tug and an orca was spotted in Seaforth Channel yesterday.
The seafloor also contains sea urchins, sea cucumbers, a variety of clams, kelp forests and juvenile salmon. Gale Creek is the area where the Heiltsuk the area where the Heiltsuk commercial and food harvest clam fishery takes place.
Photos from October 23: Nathan E Stewart HeiltsukNation