Cargo Ship Leaks Bunker Oil In Nanaimo Harbour, Cleanup Underway

Crew members on a 180-meter cargo vessel reported the bunker oil spill at around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday as the vessel was in dock at the Nanaimo cruise vessel terminal. The Canadian Coast Guard mentioned that an unconfirmed amount of heavy fuel oil had spilled during “a fuel transfer.”

Three big oil-spill-response vessels had been sent out from the Western Canada Marine Response Corp (abbreviated WCMRC) based in Nanaimo, and the containment booms were around the Maipo River as the heavy bunker oil was visible on the water. Additional skimming vessels, including a skimming vessel from the WCMRC in Sidney, are being sent to the zone.

Bunker Oil
Credit: wcmrc

The Canadian Coast Guard has established a command post to address this emergency, Michael Lowry, the communications manager associated with the WCMRC, mentioned on Wednesday morning. He added that it was unclear how much fuel leaked or what the spread could be around the jetty harbor, area, or shorelines. Lowry said crew members immediately shut off the fuel lines after observing the leak.

He mentioned that there are no estimates of how much fuel was spilled. A significant amount of the oil has been caught in the booms surrounding the vessel. The spill-response crew members have been laying containment booms, and there have been initial sweeps of the harbor looking for more oil on the water, said Lowry, adding that those sweeps will continue as more containment and skimmer boats are being carried to the scene.

Each spill-response ship has three or four crew members, including the coast guard and relevant Nanaimo Port Authority personnel. The command center of the coast guard is being set up on the site to coordinate cleanup and keep First Nations, provincial, municipal, and federal authorities apprised, mentioned Lowry. The Maipo River was earlier in Portland and had reached Nanaimo early on Wednesday.

The vessel was reportedly scheduled to dock at the Nanaimo Port Authority for two days. The bulk carrier was constructed in 2009.

Reference: Times Colonist, Cowichan Valley Citizen, Nanaimo

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