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 compromised.

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 organization
  • 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 are using a combination of floating, sub-sea and aerial resources to meet incident objectives. 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 the upwelling of oil are challenges in-field operations.

  • Pumping operations are complete. Resolve are working to remove valves from drilled holes and installing caps today (2021-06-28)
  • Crews will conduct current buster (High Speed Sweep System – HSSS) operations today as required (2021-06-27)
  • Only trace amounts of product recovered by Resolve from pumping operations on forward starboard side (mixed fuel) tank last night. Additional pumping operations will continue throughout the day to ensure all pockets of oil are recovered (2021-06-27)
  • Crews were able to recover some product on water yesterday using pom poms. 170 lbs of waste (<80% contaminated) was delivered to Miller 201 (2021-06-26)
  • Resolve is making preparations to pump the forward starboard side tank (mixed fuel) (2021-06-26)
  • Resolve completed pumping operations on forward port side tank (heavy fuel oil – HFO) (2021-06-26)
  • Resolve completed pumping operations on port side diesel tank (2021-06-25)
  • Additional pumping operations planned on port side diesel tank on Friday afternoon/evening (2021-06-25)
  • Operational crews have been working on re-securing sections of shoreline boom and RoBoom north of the wreck (2021-06-25)
  • Resolve is preparing the port side diesel tank for pumping operations (2021-06-24)
  • Three holes that were drilled in the dirty bilge tank were plugged and capped by Resolve overnight. This tank is complete (2021-06-24)
  • Resolve stopped pumping operations this morning due to a malfunctioning thruster on the Condor. Drilling continues on port side diesel tank in preparation of pumping operations. Pumping operations on forward port side tank (HFO) is expected to start again tomorrow morning (2021-06-23)
  • Several drone flights were conducted at the wreck site and all of the GRS locations on Tuesday. Quantifications observed 6.97 liters of product on the water at the wreck site. TC 951 overflew the wreck site at 1150 on Tuesday and observed 4.5 liters of product on the water (2021-06-23)
  • Crews observed a sheen with some streaks of black oil at the wreck site Tuesday evening. A drone-directed current buster (HSSS) tow was conducted to collect any recoverable product. A small amount of emulsified oil was collected in the pocket of the current buster (2021-06-23)
  • Pumping on the forward port side tank (HFO) is underway (2021-06-22)
  • Two 20L HFO samples were successfully collected (2021-06-22)
  • Operations crews have the HSSS deployed in Zuciarte Channel and are assessing sporadic reports of sheen in the vicinity of the wreck (2021-06-22)
  • Resolve completed drilling 7 of 7 holes in forward port side tank yesterday and decided to drill an 8th hole in forward starboard side tank.
  • Backup ROV 89 was wet tested on the Atlantic Condor. It’s functional but still no depth sensor (2021-06-21)
  • Resolve will be repairing three damaged valves prior the start of pumping operations on the forward port side tank. (2021-06-21)
  • Yesterday crews successfully deployed T-20 skimmer into the HSSS with and conducted towing operations with alternating crews (2021-06-21)
  • Drone flew throughout the day yesterday, quantification in the morning reported 4.8 liters sheen within the containment area and quantification in the afternoon reported 2.7 liters of product in the containment area (2021-06-21)
  • HSSS operations will continue today throughout the day (2021-06-21)

 

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.

  • Hydrocarbon samples arrived in Victoria and are being prepared for shipment (2021-04-28)
  • Monitoring ongoing requirements for Sampling, SCAT and Waste Management contracts (2021-06-27)
  • Hydrocarbon samples being delivered to Victoria (2021-04-24)
  • Sun/heat related Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) being delivered to Gold River (2021-06-24)
  • Refining Demobilization plans with Planning and Operations sections (2021-06-24)
  • Preparing for pending demobilization phase of the response (2021-06-22)

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 26:

 

47,501 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.

  • Modelling frequency will be reduced to once daily and be issued each morning until the end of the week (2021-06-28)
  • Providing recommendations for prioritization of GRS removal (2021-06-27)
  • DFO marine mammal rescue and Focus Wildlife are preparing for demobilization (2021-06-27)
  • Focus Wildlife deployed noise cannon to scare birds near containment boom (2021-06-23)
  • One oiled Surf Scoter was observed near the eastern shore of the Zuciarte channel. Capture was attempted but unsuccessful; ongoing monitoring for potential capture was recommended as the effects of oiling will likely be fatal for the bird (2021-06-23)
  • Two spill trajectory models are being provided/updated twice daily, one includes booming and one does not. The modelled product was switched from diesel and lube oil to heavy fuel oil(2021-06-21)
  • Crews rescued a Hooded Merganser chick on June 18 from the shoreline south of the RoBoom. It was not oiled and was supposed to be transferred to a local rehab centre for care but did not survive due to environmental exposure / separation from its brood (2021-06-21)
Wildlife Species Verified Impacted
(cumulative from December 10, 2020)
Sea Otter 1
Common Murre 1
Common Merganser 1
Mew Gull 14
Glaucous-winged Gull 5
Surf Scoter 1

ASSIGNED RESOURCES:

Vessels:

  • Atlantic Eagle – On Water Branch Director
  • Eagle 1 (Fast Response Craft)
  • Moorhen
  • CCGER 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)