Windy, stormy weather puts clean up operations on hold for sunken B.C. tug


BELLA BELLA, B.C. — Stormy weather has paused the operation to remove thousands of litres of diesel from a sunken tug off British Columbia”s central coast.

Salvage crews have recovered more than 88,000 of the estimated 200,000 litres of fuel from the Nathan E. Stewart, which ran aground and sank last week in Seaforth Channel, about 20 kilometres west of Bella Bella.

The latest joint situation report says more fuel is scheduled to be emptied Wednesday, but smaller boats working on the operation have been told to stand down because of predictions of gale to storm-force winds.

Other parts of the operation, including shoreline clean up assessment, wildlife observations and environmental sampling were also put on hold because of forecast.

The local Heiltsuk First Nation says in a news release that responders are concerned the tug may move in the storm, causing fuel to spill.

Jess Housty, an elected councillor for the Heiltsuk, says that an aerial tour of the scene Tuesday showed that damage to the area is extensive.