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, Coast Guard 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 were 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.

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. Following the application of the patch, crews are seeing less product on the water above the wreck site. 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. Ten 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.

  • Four Spar buoys were deployed by CCG 735 over the weekend. Boom for Geographic Response Strategies (GRS) at Yuquot and Santa Gertrudis has been transported to and staged at Friendly Cove (2021-06-07)
  • Identifying marks on log bundle in Mooyah Bay provided (2021-06-04)
  • Spars moved from Gold River to Miller 201 – counterweights coming tomorrow (2021-06-04)
  • Atlantic Eagle on-scene as On Water Branch Director (OWBD) as of 0900 yesterday. AM and PM drone flights yesterday showed product on water, including sheen south of containment area. No quantification available.  (2021-06-04)
  • Oyster fishers located and consulted; GRS modified to accommodate them. (2021-06-03)
  • Training day: Person overboard recovery and self-recovery drills successfully conducted by Moorhen and CCG 753. (2021-06-03)
  • Drone flight today, photos show increased amount of product on water. Quantification not available. (2021-06-02)
  • Prawn traps reported in the Emergency Zone; removed from the zone (2021-06-02)
  • Drone flew in the morning, then vessel and crew went directly to training in Gold River. (2021-05-31)
  • Cheesish boom adjusted to accommodate oyster fisherman. (2021-05-31)
  • Other GRS checked – no issues reported. (2021-05-31)
  • Small amount of damage to layflat boom; towed from wreck site to Miller 201 for disposal. (2021-05-31)
  • 500’ boom section at shoreline of Bligh Island to be replaced. (2021-05-31)

 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.

  • Associated hardware for Spar buoys to be delivered tomorrow. (2021-06-04)
  • Spar buoys delivered to Gold River. (2021-06-03)
  • Rapid Covid-19 tests to be delivered to Gold River staging via helicopter on June 3. (2021-06-02)

 BOOM IN PLACE

Location Length of Boom (meters)
Bligh Island Gap GRS 76
Shoreline deflection 300
Containment North 1445
Southern containment boom 800
Northern deflection Ro-Boom 549
Shoreline protection boom 689
Anderson Point 137
Cheesish Reserve/Tuta Marina GRS 290
Cheesish Reserve NW Bay GRS 801
Cheesish Reserve SE Bay GRS 305

 

OIL RECOVERED

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

 

SOURCE Amount
Surface Oil* Cumulative to June 4: 40,230 kg

 

Environmental Unit (EU): UPDATES

Summary: All measures taken by the Unified Command 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.

  • Triox Inc. confirmed to be 48hour response ready (2021-06-04)
  • Review and validation of Resource at Risk list. (2021-06-03)
  • ECCC-ESTS (Environment and Climate Change Canada – Emergency Science and Technology Section) presented sample results at general Environmental Unit call with the presentation distributed to EU and Unified Command. (2021-06-03)
  • Environmental Unit calculated updated upwelling rates based on collected waste. (2021-06-01)
  • From May 4 to May 16 upwelling rates were about 114.2L per day and 4.8L per hour.
  • From May 17 to May 31 upwelling rates were about 164.1L per day and 6.8L per hour.
Wildlife Species Verified Impacted
(cumulative from December 10, 2020)
Sea Otter 1
Common Murre 1
Common Merganser 1
Mew Gull 19
Glaucous-winged Gull 5

 

ASSIGNED RESOURCES:

Vessels:

  • Atlantic Eagle – On Water Branch Director
  • CCG Moorhen
  • CCGER 735
  • CCGER 750
  • WCMRC Sentinel 31 & Sentinel 33
  • Tug “W. Pearce” and staging barge Miller 201
  • Tug Island Challenger and Heavy Metal barge

Current Navigational Warnings (NAVWARNS) and Fisheries Advisories:

Fisheries notice: Fisheries and Oceans Canada | Fishery Notices (dfo-mpo.gc.ca)