WATCH: An initial estimate of how much bunker fuel leaked into English Bay is said to be conservative as the spill leads to more figure pointing in the B.C. Legislature.
A mechanical problem with a ship’s piping system valves was a contributing factor in an oil leak that spilled hundreds of liters of bunker fuel into the waters of English Bay last week.
Yvette Myers with Transport Canada says they are confident they have found the source of oil from MV Marathassa and it is completely contained.
Myers says oil leaked from the fuel tank into the duct keel of the vessel.
“We have found evidence of some mechanical problems with the valves in the piping system. This caused the oil to leak into the duct keel,” says Myers. “On its own, it would have been a mess in the hull of the ship. It would not have gone anywhere. But we have found another unrelated issue that was contributing. Because the oil has spilled into the duct keel, and because of this other issue, there was oil inadvertently discharged.”
Transport Canada will remain on scene to investigate the vessel for compliance and gather further evidence from the spill and the vessel, such as looking through the ship’s logs. Investigators will also be looking into how much fuel the ship was originally carrying, its daily consumption, how much is left on board and what has been recovered.
Originally, it was believed 2,700 liters of oil were leaked based on sensor data and aerial observation, but Canadian Coast Guard commissioner Jody Thomas says it was a “conservative” estimate and they don’t have a final number at this point.
Vessel owners and the crew are cooperating with the investigation.
Thomas says the costs of tackling the spill are still being determined, but vessel owners will be responsible for any expenses.
Meanwhile, authorities are still advising Vancouverites to stay away from the beaches until they are deemed to be safe.
Environment Canada says some migratory birds and waterfowl have been affected by the spill, particularly in Vanier Park and Jericho locations.