Incident: BLIGH ISLAND SHIPWRECK
Incident Start Date DECEMBER 3, 2020
Location: BLIGH ISLAND, VANCOUVER ISLAND
 

Situational Overview

As a result of a number of sightings of sheening and oiling in the vicinity of Bligh Island / Zuciarte Channel, CCG confirms that the shipwreck of the M/V Schiedyk, a 483 ft bulk carrier that sank in 1968, has started to release oil.

The situation escalated between Dec 4-6, and heavy oil was observed on the water and staining rocks on the shoreline. As a result the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) contracted the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) to deploy to the area.  CCG has established an Incident Command System (ICS) for this incident. Unified Command consists of Canadian Coast Guard, Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, and BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategies.

Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations report that the product is seeping from more than one location and that vessel is resting hull-up in 350–400 ft (100 –120 m) of water. M/V Schiedyk was carrying approximately 1000 tons of grain and pulp when it grounded.

Fuel samples have been sent to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Pacific Environmental Science Center (PESC) and Emergencies Science and Technology Section (ESTS) laboratories from forensic chemistry and fate and behavior modeling. Oil sampling test results indicate oil is similar to historical Bunker “C” type. Rate of oil upwelling was approximately 1 – 4 L per hour, with an occasional increase to approximately 11 – 13 L per hour due to weather conditions.

The incident public website is updated regularly.

CCG has cancelled the Transport Canada National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) flight tasking of the area. Upwelling is being monitored via on-water assets and Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).

Resolve Marine, the company who completed the Technical Assessment (TA) at the wreck site, arrived in Nootka Sound on April 18, 2021 on the vessel, Atlantic Condor. Hull was scrubbed, hull thickness was measured, and a patch was put in place over a 11 m gash on the starboard side. The patch has decreased the upwelling however release continues at the wreck site (attempting to quantify actual release rate – more information to follow in the following week or so). All vessel hull drilling has been completed. Four tanks were found to have product with quantities of note, predominantly heavy fuel oil with some marine diesel. The Technical Assessment operation was completed on May 4th. Resolve Marine Group and the Atlantic Condor have departed the site.

Daily preventative actions are being taken to contain the immediate threats and prevent long-term impacts to the environment. Large amounts of off-shore boom have been placed to assist with heavy fuel oil containment. South of the wreck site, deflection booming has been set up. Six Geographic Response Strategies (GRS) are currently implemented across ecologically sensitive areas.

Incident Priorities
  • Maximize response staff integration across organizations.
  • Ensure safety of responders and the public.
  • Ensure a unified response effort to include Federal, Provincial, and Indigenous priorities.
  • Minimize impacts to ecological, socio-economic, and cultural areas.
  • Ensure fluid and efficient incident communication is easily accessible.
  • Ensure efficiency in marine operations.
Agencies Involved (either in person or remote)
  • Unified Command – Canadian Coast Guard, Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
  • Canadian Coast Guard
  • National Environmental Emergencies Centre, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
  • Western Canada Marine Response Corporation
  • Ehattesaht Fisheries
  • Nuu Chah Nulth Tribal Council
  • Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation
  • Hesquiaht First Nation
  • BC Parks
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Canadian Wildlife Service
  • Grieg Seafood

Incident Management Team (IMT): UNIT UPDATES

OPERATIONS

Summary: In-field operations to meet incident objectives are using a combination of floating, sub-sea and aerial resources. These resources provide direction daily, and conduct assignments like Aerial Observation, Protection Booming, Wreck Assessment, surface oil collection and recovery, as well as marine mammal and wildlife assessment. Operations staff are working out of Nootka Sound and Gold River, and following integrated Safety, Communications, and Logistical plans. Planning for these tactical operations is risk-based, and determined through a planning cycle. Equipment such as storage tanks/bins, consumable like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sorbents, as well as additional equipment for contingencies, are stored at the incident staging area near Gold River. Weather, remoteness, and a consistent upwelling of oil continue to challenge in-field operations.

  • Tending and adjusting boom and anchors as needed (2021-05-09).
  • Crews are continuing to monitor and create a containment barrier around the upwelling (2021-05-08)
  • Geographic Response Strategies (GRS) have been redeployed based on priorities and proximity to upwelling. RO-Boom has been reinstalled for containment at wreck site. (2021-05-07)
  • The Atlantic Eagle has arrived on site and assumed On Water Branch Director (OWBD) duties (2021-05-07)
  • Decontamination of some vessels on-going at the Staging Area in Gold River (2021-05-07)
  • All on-water operations cancelled at 1100 due to weather. (2021-05-06)
  • Drone imagery shows a small amount of continuous oil upwelling from the shipwreck. The amount seen currently is less than what was seen before Resolve completed patching. No other drone flights possible today due to weather. (2021-05-06)
  • The Atlantic Condor departed site with Resolve Marine personnel. (2021-05-05)
  • Started the decontamination process at the Staging Area in Gold River. (2021-05-05)
  • Continued drone operations monitoring the casualty site. (2021-05-05)
  • Seven additional sandbags were placed on the patch in an attempt to stop the remaining upwelling. This has improved the seal. (2021-05-04)
  • Starting the removal of GRS boom. (2021-05-04)
  • The technical assessment on-site operations are now complete. The 24-hour assessment period will begin prior to the departure of Resolve Marine on the Atlantic Condor. (2021-05-04)
  • No drone operations in the morning due to weather. (2021-05-03)
  • CCG crews training in the morning with Focus Wildlife staff on wildlife observations. (2021-05-03)
  • All tanks on the wreck have been drilled at least once. The patch on the 10 m breach will be fixed with more sandbags. (2021-05-03)

 LOGISTICS

Summary: This incident has challenged the Incident Command Post to find innovative ways to support responders at the remote incident site while also following COVID protocols. CCG and industry have integrated to bolster the existing communication network in the area to ensure responders have a safe and dependable means to communicate with each other and the virtual Incident Command Post. By cascading private/government equipment throughout Western Canada, responders have the on-water pollution counter measure equipment required. The current lack of tourism in the area allows responders to utilize lodging that had been shut down for the off-season.

  • Organizing the replacement of the CCG satellite terminal at Critter Cove. (2021-05-10)
  • Demobilizing the Heiltsuk Horizon crew that has provided tug, barge and crane support for the last month. (2021-05-10)
  • Continue to advance preparations for next phase of operations. (2021-05-08)
  • CCG’s Maritime and Civil Infrastructure (MCI) crew to assist in the decontamination process at the staging area. Working with Planning Section on the details. (2021-05-04)
  • Four additional waste bins will be coming to Gold River site to facilitate decontamination. (2021-05-04)
  • Working on support for the upcoming Decontamination Operation. (2021-05-03)
  • Continue to work with Aids to Navigation on cautionary buoy for Emergency Zone. (2021-05-03)

 BOOM IN PLACE

Location Length of Boom (metres)
Bligh Island Gap GRS 76
Shoreline deflection 300
Containment North 915
Southern containment boom 800
Northern deflection Ro-Boom 549
Shoreline protection boom 1219
Anderson Point 137
Cheesish Reserve/Tuta Marina GRS 290
Cheesish Reserve NW Bay GRS 801
Cheesish Reserve SE Bay GRS 305
Little Mooyah Bay GRS 76

 

OIL RECOVERED

(*oil product recovered is mixed with salt water and/or organics) 

SOURCE Amount
Surface Oil* Cumulative to May 5:

37,057.20 kg

Environmental Unit (EU): UPDATES

Summary: All measures taken by the Incident Command Post utilize the Precautionary Approach and focused on minimizing damages and maximizing efforts. This approach to incident management relies on the Environmental Unit, which is comprised of Federal, Indigenous, Provincial and industry technical specialists and makes environmental-related recommendations to Unified Command that represents the interests of all contributing Environmental Unit members. An example of an ongoing agenda item for the Environmental Unit is the regular review and update of the ICS 232, a form that documents and prioritizes the Resources at Risk. Operations then use this prioritized list of environmental, economic and cultural sensitivities to build strategies and tactics to prevent damages. These proposed tactics are presented to the Unified Command for approval.

  • Tracking, reviewing and making recommendations to Unified Command on Resources at Risk priorities based on latest survey data (ongoing) (2021-05-10)
  • Wildlife survey notes 100+ mixed loons south of Burwood Point (2021-05-09)
  • Breco Buoy was tested and is operational. A new installation location has been identified (2021-05-09)
  • Wildlife surveys and on water deterrence conducted. Oil observed south of the southern containment boom, adjacent to the cut. (2021-05-07)
  • Conducted wildlife observations in Zuciarte Channel and conducted deterrent activities. (2021-05-05)
  • Conducted wildlife observations in Zuciarte Channel and at wreck site. (2021-05-04)
  • Focus Wildlife conducted training with CCG crews at Critter Cove to familiarize them with deterrent operations. (2021-05-03)
Wildlife Observations
Wildlife Species Verified Impacted
(cumulative from December 10, 2020)
Observed in the area near the spill site
Sea Otter 1 95
Harbour Seal 0 1
Stellar Sea Lion 0 1
Humpback 0 7
Orca 0 10
Grey whale 0 12
Common Murre 1 1
Mew Gull 14 1
Barrow’s Goldeneye 0 11
Common Merganser 0 8
Glaucous-winged Gull 5 2
Surf Scoters 0 155
Horned Grebe 0 4
Red-necked Grebe 0 29
Pelagic Cormorant 0 2
Bald Eagle 0 1

 

ASSIGNED RESOURCES:

Vessels:

  • Atlantic Eagle – on water branch director
  • CCG Moorhen
  • CCGER 668 (PRV III)
  • CCGER 734
  • CCGER 735
  • DFO Marine Mammal Response RHIB
  • WCMRC barge 200
  • WCMRC Sentinel 31 & Sentinel 33
  • Tug “W. Pearce” and staging barge Miller 201 and Crane operator
  • Tug Genni Bay and Barge Mack 8
  • Focus 1
  • Keystone Reservoir Dog