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 reissued 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 Technical Assessment operation was completed on May 4th.

The Technical Assessment found two tanks containing heavy fuel oil, one tank with marine diesel oil, and one tank with mixed oil product on board the vessel. The amount of fuel is estimated to be approximately 147 cubic metres based on the total volume of the tanks, however that amount may be less if the internal tank walls have been compressed.

Resolve Marine Group will use a process called “hot tapping” to reduce the volume of fuel in the tanks. This process involves drilling a hole in the fuel tank from the outside, attaching a valve, and pumping the fuel out of the tank through a hose attached to the valve. Given the nature of the operation, there is a small risk of a larger release of oil. CCG and partners are prepared to address this should it arise, and will continue to be on-site and ready to respond if necessary.

The Atlantic Condor arrived on site on June 15, and bulk oil removal is expected to completed by the end of June.

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.

  • Resolve completed drilling and installation of 7 valve assemblies on the port side tank containing Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). (2021-06-20)
  • A sheen was observed on the east side of Zuciarte Channel to Discovery Point yesterday. It was observed to be small pockets of sheen throughout the area and all non-recoverable. (2021-06-20)
  • Crews will keep with the High Speed Sweep System (HSSS) at the incident site this morning, and towing exercises with all vessels will be conducted throughout the day. (2021-06-20)
  • Crews found some damaged shoreline protection boom. Four sections of boom are being replaced using the 24″ curtain boom from Helispot Bay. (2021-06-20)
  • No entrainment outside of the boom has been observed today. (2021-06-20)
  • Resolve’s pumping operations on the dirty bilge tank started at 11:11 PDT yesterday. As of 17:00 PDT, 90m3 of hot water had been circulated through. The revised tank capacity was found to be 18.7m3, therefore the tank was flushed at 5x its capacity. The oily water processing capacity of the systems on deck are effective; the water exits at 0ppm with no backlog of fluid. 2.5m3 of oil was collected from this tank. (2021-06-19)
  • Resolve will begin working on the port side tank today which contains an estimated 87T of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). 7 holes will be drilled into the tank throughout the day and pumping is anticipated to begin over the next few days. (2021-06-19)
  • The High Speed Sweep System (HSSS) will be deployed by Coast Guard and WCMRC crews throughout the day today while drilling operations continue to take place. (2021-06-19)
  • Crews conducted maintenance of the spar buoys at Cheesish Bay GRS locations yesterday. A number of the spar buoys had lost their counterweights and were replaced. Ongoing maintenance will be required (2021-06-19)
  • Final preparations were completed and pumping began on the dirty bilge tank at 1130 PDT. (2021-06-18)
  • Weather was not suitable for HSSS operation (due to whitecaps on the water), but crews continued to monitor for product on the water near the wreck site. (2021-06-18)
  • Transport Canada overflight yesterday documented hydrocarbon sheen over wreck site. Sheen estimated at 8.1 litres, most concentrated around salvage vessel Atlantic Condor. (2021-06-17)
  • Resolve has confirmed 4 of 4 required holes have been drilled into the dirty bilge tank and preparations for pumping are ongoing. (2021-06-17)
  • Morning drone flight saw small sheen heading towards Bligh Island and to the south towards the RoBoom within the containment area. No quantification. (2021-06-16)
  • Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV) is almost finished cleaning surface dirty bilge tank. ROV will then have drill installed and start drilling dirty bilge tank this afternoon. (2021-06-16)
  • Heating pumping skid has been lowered into position. (2021-06-16)
  • Dynamic Position testing and ROV wet test complete. (2021-06-15)
  • ROV survey of wreck is underway. (2021-06-15)
  • The 24″ curtain boom has been removed from the primary containment area and crews are currently reconfiguring the RoBoom. (2021-06-14)
  • Morning drone flight quantification saw 14 litres of product on the water within the containment area. Reported as upwelling at different locations, rainbow sheen in various places and dissipating into a silver sheen. Nothing noted north of the main containment. (2021-06-14)

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.

  • 10 additional drifter buoys being sent to Gold River tomorrow to assist the Environmental Unit in model calibration. (2021-06-20)
  • Updated NAVWARN summary sent to Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) yesterday (2021-06-18)
  • Miller 201 transited to Gold River to unload three waste bins and loaded two empty ones. (2021-06-18)
  • Assessing options for unloading Resolve Marine’s 20’ container at the Staging Area. (2021-06-15)
  • Sampling kit and containers were sent to Miller 201 this morning. (2021-06-15)
  • Tymec Bins were swapped out for empty ones loaded onto Miller 201. (2021-06-14)
  • Staging Area Supply Unit Leader and Barge Manager ensuring enough PPE is on the Miller 201 Barge. (2021-06-14)

 

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 18:

 

47,003 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.

  • Focus Wildlife conducted wildlife monitoring and observations at two main areas: Zuciarte Channel, and south Nootka Sound from Discovery Pt. to Escalante Pt. No oiled wildlife reported. (2021-06-20)
  • DFO Marine Mammal team conducted a full marine mammal survey of the area counting 34 sea otters in Nootka Sound, with three sea otters using Zuciarte Channel on a daily basis. Two grey whales and one humpback whale were also spotted in the Nootka Sound over the past two days. (2021-06-20)
  • Focus Wildlife reported oil sheen on the water northwest of Discovery Point. A Marbled Murrelet was observed in the area but not oiled. Focus Wildlife conducted mechanical dispersion to accelerated the weathering process but the risk to birds remains. (2021-06-19)
  • Crews rescued a Merganser chick from the shoreline south of the RoBoom. It was not oiled and was transferred to a local rehab centre for care. (2021-06-18)
  • DFO Marine mammal survey reports two sea otters swimming at the shipwreck sight today. No oil sheen observed on-water today at the site (2021-06-17)
  • Four oil trajectory models have been delivered, for use by Operations in the event of a larger release of oil. The 5th model is currently being developed. (2021-06-17)
  • Two rounds of trajectory models have been delivered with each including models for both diesel and lube oil. (2021-06-16)
  • Drifter buoys are actively being deployed to calibrate modelling efforts. (2021-06-16)
  • DFO Marine Mammal group, Focus Wildlife and Golder and Assoc. monitoring throughout the bulk oil removal and relaying any relevant observations about wildlife. (2021-06-16)
  • The Relocation Plan for SARA (Species at Risk Act) listed species has been complete and is ready to be implemented in the event of an emergency. (2021-06-16)
  • The post bulk oil removal Environmental Sampling Plan is being reviewed by Sampling Technical Specialists and Sampling Task Force. (2021-06-16)
  • Environment Climate Change Canada, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation are response-ready for Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Techniques (SCAT) deployment if necessary. (2021-06-16)
  • Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation on water with DFO Marine Mammal Group. (2021-06-16)
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
  • Eagle 1 (Fast Response Craft)
  • Moorhen
  • CCG 668
  • CCGER 735
  • CCGER 750
  • WCMRC Sentinel 31, Sentinel 32 & Cortes Sentinel
  • Atlantic Condor
  • DFO Vessel “Marine Mammal Response”
  • Tug “W. Pearce” and staging barge Miller 201
  • Tug Island Challenger and Heavy Metal barge
  • SNRC Hydra Vessel (Strategic)
  • Focus 1
  • Salish Gal

Current Navigational Warnings (NAVWARNS) and Fisheries Advisories:

 

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