Diesel Spill near Echo Bay

DISCLAIMER: Information provided is based on reports received by Emergency Management B.C. Information provided is considered to be current at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.

Incident Description

Incident Date March 5, 2017
Name Diesel Spill near Echo Bay (DGIR: 163505)
Source Fuel transfer pump
Nearest Community Echo Bay, B.C.
Spilled Content Approximately 500-600 litres of diesel fuel
Who is involved? B.C. Ministry of Environment, EMBC, First Nations Health Authority, Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC), Environment and Climate Change Canada, Regional District of Mount Waddington, Cermaq Canada, Kwikwasut'inuxw Haxwa'mis First Nation, Department of Fisheries and Oceans.


Response Phase Detail

The responsible person or spiller is legally required to clean-up or manage the clean-up of a spill. In incidents where the responsible person is unknown, unable or unwilling to manage the clean up, the Ministry of Environment may assume the role. The updates below reflect the Ministry’s oversight of the spillers’ actions; details describe the spill response phase, only, and not the complete lifecycle of the spill. See More Information for other related reports. 

Updates are in reverse chronological order, with the most recent at the top. Industry-specific language may be explained in the Glossary of Terms (PDF).

Most Recent Update

March 10, 2017 - 5:45 pm

The responsible party's contractor has completed cleaning and aerating the nets at the fish farm site to remove any residual product trapped in the structure of the fish farm. Soiled sorbents have been removed from the water and packaged for transport. Shoreline cleanup and sampling teams continued work today as per the Incident Action Plan. Shoreline assessment and sampling will continue tomorrow. 

Unified Command has agreed to transition to a virtual incident command post. Personnel will be demobilizing from the incident command post tonight. Unified Command members will continue to oversee the response through regular conference calls to support implementation of the sampling plan. 

No further updates will be provided unless the situation deteriorates.

March 7th, 2017 - 6 pm

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has assumed the lead federal agency role from the Canadian Coast Guard. Unified Command is currently comprised of ECCC, B.C. Ministry of Environment (lead provincial agency), Cermaq Canada (Responsible Party), and the impacted First Nations from Gilford Island and Kingcome Inlet.

Poor weather today delayed an overflight of the site and the surrounding area, but Incident Commanders from each agency were able to fly over the incident late this afternoon. B.C. Ministry of Environment staff were in the field today conducting sampling with a consultant, a First Nations representative and a response officer from ECCC. A detailed sampling plan is being developed at the Incident Command Post with input from participating agencies and organizations, including local First Nations. 

A barge has been brought to the site for secure temporary storage of the waste materials being generated consistent with the waste management plan. Responders on site continue work to contain and collect recoverable diesel at the fish farm.

March 6, 2017 - 5 pm

Unified Command, consisting of; B.C. Ministry of Environment, Canadian Coast Guard, Cermaq Canada, and First Nations have established an Incident Command Post in Port McNeill. Environment Canada will be assuming the federal lead agency role in the place of Canadian Coast Guard upon arrival in Port McNeill by tomorrow morning.

The updated spill volume, calculated by Canadian Coast Guard, is approximately 522 litres of biodiesel (5% bio content blend). Transport Canada national surveillance aircraft estimated 65.2 litres of visible diesel remaining on the surface at the time of their overflight today.

The Responsible Party (Cermaq Canada) and their contractors continue efforts to contain the diesel within the facility footprint and collect as much as possible with sorbents. The Environmental Unit continues to work with all parties to identify resources at risk and develop plans for waste management, sampling and shoreline assessment.

B.C. Ministry of Environment staff collected samples in the vicinity of the fish farm today for analysis. An interagency coordination call was held today to share information and discuss further response actions. Further updates will be provided as new information becomes available. 

Diesel spill near Echo Bay taken on an overflight of the area March 6, 2017 at 1100hrs

(Diesel spill near Echo Bay taken on an overflight of the area March 6, 2017 at 1100hrs)

March 5, 2017 - 7 pm

B.C. Ministry of Environment and Canadian Coast Guard are currently working to fully incorporate the responsible party, Cermaq Canada, into the spill response. Cermaq Canada has responded to the incident with their own equipment and have been supplemented with additional resources from Canadian Coast Guard. Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) arrived onsite at 5:30 pm. 

Incident Commanders from Canadian Coast Guard and B.C. Ministry of Environment have conducted an overflight of the incident, confirming a discontinuous silver and rainbow sheen within a three-mile radius of the fish farm. Fuel has made contact with some shorelines in the Burdwood Island group. 

Response activities continue in order to contain and recover fuel remaining inside the fish farm's footprint and minimize escape from this area. Fuel outside of fish farm has been deemed unrecoverable because it has now spread into very thin layer that is not recoverable by skimmer vessels or sorbent materials. 

A unified incident command post has been established in Port McNeill, B.C. to manage ongoing response. More details to come.

March 5, 2017 – 3:26 pm

An estimated 500 - 600 litres of diesel fuel has been released into the ocean approximately 45km northeast of Port McNeill. The spill originated at a fish farm fuel transfer pump. An Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) is onsite and four additional staff from B.C. Ministry of Environment are enroute. B.C. Ministry of Environment and Canadian Coast Guard have assessed the scene and are determining appropriate response actions. First Nation communities in the impacted area are being notified. Western Canadian Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) has been contacted to aid in the response. Further updates will be provided as more information is available.

Diesel spill near Echo Bay

(Diesel Spill near Echo Bay, B.C.)