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

Forest fire 1.5 km from Sara Lake listed as out of control

While the fire is classified as out of control, they expect it to be under control imminently.

20th annual OrcaFest takes over Port McNeill

Check out the North Island Gazette’s OrcaFest photo gallery!

Oh Yeah takes a bite out of Woodchuckers at OrcaFest slo-pitch tournament in Port McNeill

Oh Yeah defeated the Woodchuckers 21-10 after seven innings.

Gate House Theatre reopens, kicks off OrcaFest in style

It was an evening of laughter and good times and the perfect launch to the festival weekend.

Port Hardy council creates subscription-based portal for agendas and minutes

It was a “council decision based on presentation by staff during financial planning budget meetings.”

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Politicians say elections law restricting partisan ads is ‘absurd,’ ‘lunacy’

Election Canada’s choice to cite climate change as a specific example has left environment groups feeling muzzled

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Most Read