Bad weather delays efforts to clean up tug off British Columbia coast

By The Canadian Press
November 2, 2016 - 3:43pm

BELLA BELLA, B.C. — A barge has arrived to remove a sunken tug from waters off British Columbia’s central coast, but blustery weather is hampering the efforts of crews cleaning up the fuel spill.

The latest joint situation report says all vessels have been told to stand down as winds of up to 90 kilometres per hour and waves as high as eight metres are expected Wednesday, nearly three weeks after the Nathan E. Stewart ran aground and sank near Bella Bella, B.C.

The report says the tug is currently being held in place with a 10-ton anchor and a cradle is being prepared to lift the vessel from the water.

When possible, the 30-metre tug is expected to be moved to deeper water, where it will be raised and loaded onto a barge for removal from the ocean off the Great Bear Rainforest.

Exactly how much fuel was released into the water has not yet been determined, but the tug had more than 220,000 litres on board when it went down, and less than 105,000 litres have been recovered.

Members of the Heiltsuk Nation say dead seals and otters have been found in the area since the tug sank, along with a number of oiled birds.

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