UPDATE: Stranded fuel barge has been secured near Bella Bella

The Jake Shearer, a U.S.-owned tug and barge, has dropped anchor in rough water near Goose Island

The stranded fuel barge off the coast of Bella Bella is no longer a search and rescue mission.

A commercial tug, the Gulf Cajun, secured the barge at approximately 11 a.m. and took the fuel carrying barge, Zidell Marine 277, under tow. The barge has been moved one nautical mile away from the shoreline.

“They are currently underway north to Milbanke Sound. This area was chosen because it’s sheltered so it’s a better sea state,” said Lieutenant Navy Melissa Kia with Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria.

On Sunday night, a fuel barge carrying millions of litres of fuel and was in distress in rough water with gale force winds. On Monday, winds decreased to 20 knots with the seas at two metres.

The 420-foot fuel barge, Zidell Marine 277, broke free from its tug, Jake Shearer, about 45 kilometres southwest of Bella Bella. It was carrying 3.4 million litres of diesel and 468,000 litres of gasoline.

RELATED: B.C. First Nation says it has created world-class spill response plan

“The tug was able to get two people on board the barge to drop its anchor, ” said Katelyn Moores, spokeswoman with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria. “The anchor is holding right now so that’s good news and we’re on scene and we’re doing the best we can.”

The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Gordon Reid was deployed and the Cape St. James was en route. Three other tugboats that were nearby have also offered assistance, Moores said.

“At this point, we’re assessing the situation to determine the best course of action,” she said, adding “there are some pretty strong winds” in the area.

Asked about potential oil spill response resources, Moores said the Coast Guard is setting up a response centre.

“We’re dispatching five vessels from Prince Rupert: the Eagle Bay, the Gill Sentinal, the Kaien Sentinal, one workboat and one booms kit,” said Michael Lowry, communications for Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation.

“We’re also dispatching a vessel from Vancouver Island to Port Hardy, just so there are four positions just in case there ends up being an incident. At this point as far as I know, the vessel is anchored so at this point we’re just being precautionary.”

RELATED: WCMRC grows its fleet and spill response on the North Coast

B.C. Spill Response posted on social media that there are no reports of a spill, though it is preparing to respond.

twitter.com

Heiltsuk First Nation Tribal Council, of Bella Bella, sent out a news release saying it is in close contact with the Coast Guard in Prince Rupert to monitor the situation.

“This incident highlights the desperate need for Indigenous-led response capacity on the central coast,” the release said. “Heiltsuk will continue to push forward our proposal for an Indigenous marine response centre.”

Transport Canada has taken the lead in the investigation, and will decide which port to take the barge to.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ucluelet senior grateful after trespassers apologize

“It gave me some of my dignity back,” said Ellen Kimoto of Spring Cove.

Tofino’s Crystal Cove crowned top family destination for second year in a row

TripAdvisor has announced the recipients of its Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best awards.

COVID-19: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation asks Tofino businesses for support as emergency funding runs dry

“We need to pay for the work they do. It’s such important work.”

DFO says the five aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read