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

Victoria’s Clean Team collects 600 used needles in a week

Number of used needles found downtown steadily increasing over 12 years

How schools across Greater Victoria are handling marijuana legalization

Districts and campuses have different approaches to pot use and education

Disney channel TV series being shot in Oak Bay

The new TV series is called ‘Pup Academy’

Vancouver Island homeowners buy more earthquake insurance than the rest of B.C.

Insurance Bureau of Canada says that’s because the perception of risk is greater on the Island

Anxiety amongst voters on amalgamation referendum

Non-binding referendum asks Victoria and Saanich residents to endorse citizens’ assembly

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Jets score 3 late goals to beat Canucks 4-1

Winnipeg ends three-game Vancouver win streak

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

San Group announces plans to build new sawmill in Port Alberni

San Group has purchased 25 acres of Catalyst Paper land for expansion

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

Most Read