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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Updated: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Digital Daffodils

April is Canadian Cancer Society’s cancer awareness month

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

City gives no response to homelessness concerns

City demands shelter close, but no response to pleas from shelter to open Jim Ciccone Civic Centre

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Look at hospitalizations, not recovery stats for COVID-19, B.C. professor says

Cases in hospital are a definitive count of people who have the novel coronavirus

Most Read