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Tanks of sunken tug near Bella Bella pumped out

Heiltsuk First Nation

BELLA BELLA, B.C. – A group overseeing cleanup of an oil spill from a submerged tug on British Columbia’s central coast says all the tanks aboard the Nathan E. Stewart have been pumped out.

A joint report issued by the American tug owner and federal, provincial and First Nations representatives says 110,131 litres of an oil-water mixture have been recovered.

The tug was loaded with 226,840 litres of diesel fuel when it ran aground just west of Bella Bella on Oct. 13, and nearly 25,000 litres were removed before the vessel settled in about nine metres of water in Seaforth Channel.

A shellfish harvesting closure was imposed the next day, and yesterday afternoon’s report describes oiled shorelines along sections of Seaforth Channel and oil sheen in surrounding waters.

The report says one oiled bird was also observed yesterday.

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Kirby Offshore Marine, which owns the 30-metre tug, hoped to use a crane to lift the vessel onto a barge once its tanks were pumped out, but a timeline for the salvage effort has not been set.

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