Oil absorbent pads collecting the industrial waste off the harbour in Prince Rupert.

Fisherman reports oil slick from the port expansion

An oil slick has been reported along the Fairview Container Terminal dock at the site of the expansion.

An oil slick has been reported along the Fairview Container Terminal dock at the site of the expansion.

Commercial fisherman Joe Lewis has noticed the oil sheen in the harbour before but he couldn’t identify where it was coming from until Thursday, when the weather was calm and he was able to trace the source of the pollutant.

 

Contributed: Joe Lewis

“I followed it over to the end of the dock and it’s just a straight slick coming off the FRPD barge (FRPD-BEL Gateway Joint Venture is responsible for the construction of the Fairview Terminal expansion) and floating right in toward Fairview II,” Lewis said.

 

 

Contributed: Joe Lewis

“You can see small herring and salmonoids feeding amongst it. I’ve seen them floating around dead and twitching and I was wondering what was wrong with them. I’ve seen that on numerous occasions.”

 

Fish spotted underneath the oil slick in the Prince Rupert harbour. Contributed: Joe Lewis

On April 14, at 10 a.m. Lewis was on the commercial fishing boat he works on when he spotted “a huge oil slick all over the water.” As he followed the slick he took photos with his phone. He also saw oil absorbency mats at the corners of the dock.

 

Contributed: Joe Lewis

In response to reports of the oil slick, Michael Gurney, the Port of Prince Rupert’s manager of corporate communications, said they take a serious approach to the appearance or suspicion of any contaminants in Prince Rupert harbour.

“We work with the Canadian Coast Guard to identify vessels that pump out contaminated bilge water, which can cause hydrocarbon sheens on the water,” Gurney said in an email.

He stressed that anyone who may notice a waterborne pollutant should notify the Canadian Coast Guard who will investigate and mitigate such incidents.

“With respect to the recent observations brought to our attention by the Northern View, we have followed up with port partners working in the area to confirm the situation and ensure that any issues are being reported appropriately,” Gurney said.

To report a spill, the Canadian Coast Guard line in Prince Rupert is 250-627-3074 (or toll-free 1-800-889-8852).

 

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