Efforts begin to raise sunken tug near Bella Bella

Some progress in work to reposition the Nathan E. Stewart

Work is underway to reposition a submerged tug before lifting it from waters off B.C.’s central coast.

Ayla Brown of the Heiltsuk First Nation says salvage experts used chains attached to anchors to drag the Nathan E. Stewart about 300 metres into deeper waters of Seaforth Channel, west of Bella Bella.

She says dragging began overnight and the tug had been pulled about 25 per cent of the way toward a salvage barge.

Once it is in deeper water, a crane will lift the 30-metre tug onto the salvage barge, but Brown says the operation was delayed due to tides and swells that made dragging unsafe.

It’s hoped work can resume with the changing tide.

The Nathan E. Stewart ran aground on Oct. 13, spilling more than 100,000 litres of diesel and other contaminants.

Since then, federal officials have ordered closure of shellfish beds vital to the economy of the Heiltsuk Nation.

Marilyn Slett, Heiltsuk chief councillor, said she was relieved to see movement of the tug after 29 days aground on the reef.

“The real impacts of this spill on our culturally significant harvesting ground are far from assessed. We continue to remain focused on the impacts of the spill on our community and their well-being,” says Slett.

Photos posted by the First Nation earlier this week show the tug was leaking residual oils, Brown says.

“Those are heavy residual oils that could not be removed in the pumping process because they are trapped between the ceiling and walls,” she says.

Despite slow progress dragging the tug, Brown hopes it will be out of the water soon.

“They can only pull on one of the tides, so they can pull for six hours, wait for six hours, pull for six, wait for six. That sounds like it’s how it’s going to go, as long as the weather co-operates.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Prince Rupert officer charged after pedestrian struck at crosswalk

A man suffered a broken leg and head lacerations after being struck by the police vehicle in 2017

Muddy water found in taps at Prince Rupert hospital prompts investigation

Northern Health to hire consultant to examine three facilities for potential contamination

Column: A salmon fisheries collapse is a terrifying thought

How a potential sockeye and chinook closure will affect fishers in Northern B.C.

In Our Opinion: Rupert is not a personal landfill

Now that spring is here, the garbage that has been dumped all over Kaien Island is more evident

Seawolves win all five games in provincial championships

Prince Rupert’s bantam team defeat Langley 2-1 after a tough match in the finals

This Week Podcast — Episode 77

Members of Complete Streets for Prince Rupert speak on the show on how to improve pedestrian safety

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. gives tax breaks to jumpstart LNG in northwest

LNG income tax scrapped, break on sales tax for producers

Rupert the therapy bunny sidelined due to deadly virus outbreak

Chilliwack’s famous therapy rabbit quarantined for his own safety, people not at risk

BCHL Today: Wenatchee goes Wild against Vernon Vipers

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

B.C’s Indigenous tourism takes centre stage in Chilliwack

One-day workshop will look at ways to imbue the industry with authenticity

B.C. landlords collect too much personal information, watchdog says

Report suggests low vacancy rates lead landlords to believe they can collect whatever info they want

Quebec daycare subsidies offer warning for B.C., study says

Over-55 women more likely to join paid workforce than young mothers

Heavy ice off Canada coast strands pod of dolphins, fixating small town

The small Newfoundland community, Heart’s Delight, is fixated on plight of trapped dolphins

Most Read