CFB Esquimalt-based HMCS Calgary spilled 30,000 litres of fuel into the Strait of Georgia east of Nanoose Bay on Saturday. Crews in smaller vessels were dispatched this week to assess the effect of the spill and determine cleanup actions. Maritime Forces Pacific photo/Twitter

Investigation continues into naval fuel spill off B.C.’s West Coast

“As far as we’re concerned, any spill is one spill too many”

Don Descoteau

VICTORIA NEWS

The environmental consequences of spilling 30,000 litres of light fuel into the Georgia Strait during an internal transfer aboard HMCS Calgary may not be the same as if it were bunker oil.

The Royal Canadian Navy, however, is taking Saturday’s incident aboard the naval vessel just as seriously.

“As far as we’re concerned, any spill is one spill too many,” said Lt.-Com. John Nethercott, senior public affairs officer at Maritime Forces Pacific.

“We’re treating this the same way we treat any spill.”

Four smaller ORCA-class training vessels were dispatched Monday to the area in question, with five specific areas to investigate between Greater Victoria and Parksville, Nethercott said. The ships can get into tighter areas than frigates such as the Calgary, to be able to check shorelines.

READ MORE: Naval ship spills 30,000 litres of fuel into Georgia Strait

Representatives from the Canadian Coast Guard and provincial environment specialists are on board to help in the detection phase and direct any immediate actions that need to be taken. “Plus we’ve fitted out the ORCAS with extra equipment to soak up any fuel they might find,” Nethercott said.

The F76 type fuel is believed to have been released from the Calgary between 3 and 8 a.m. during a re-fueling operation, according to the Ministry of Environment. This type of fuel is similar to kerosene and quickly evaporates.

“The spill was reported to have started near Parksville and ended approximately 100km southeast, just west of Tsawwassen,” the report stated. No sheen was observed, and Environment Canada determined there would “likely be no impact” to the shoreline.

The navy’s investigation into how the spill happened – crew members were believed to be transferring fuel from one tank to another, possibly for ballast reasons – will help determine whether it was human or procedural error, or a technical issue, Nethercott said.

“We’re a learning organization. Sometimes you have to learn the lessons the hard way and this is one of those times,” he said.

On Sunday, Environment Canada stated that its calculations “predicted a quick dispersion of the fuel due to sea conditions and the continuous movement of the vessel during the release.”

BC Ferries, Harbour Air and the public were also alerted to look to signs of the spill and report them to the Maritime Forces Pacific’s Regional Joint Operations Centre at 250-363-5848.

– with files from Nanaimo News Bulletin

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Glacier View residents take a ride on the river

Ground Search and Rescue guides floaters on Puntledge

Brewing up some community engagement

Insp. Tim Walton says goodbye to the Comox Valley

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

Most Read