Sunken Tug in Shuswap Lake

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 May 16, 2017
Name Sunken Tug in Shuswap Lake (DGIR: 170561)
Source Sunken vessel 
Nearest Community St. Ives, B.C.
Spilled Content Unknown at this time (May 16, 2017 - 1:39 pm)
Who is involved? B.C. Ministry of Environment, Emergency Management B.C., Canadian Coast Guard, RAM Environmental, Canoe Forest Products, Interior Health, Environment Canada, Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), Transport Canada, Environment Canada, First Nations Health Authority 


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

May 19, 2017 - 8:34 am

The salvage plan to retrieve the sunken tug was approved by Transport Canada, the responsible party and the environmental contractor. A barge with a crane was deployed to the incident site yesterday morning (May 18). Divers rigged the tug for lifting and a salvage team used the mobile crane to successfully refloat the tug, "Log Master", later that same day (May 18).

A plane from Transport Canada's National Aerial Surveillance Program (NASP) flew over the site during the recovery. The NASP plane reported only a small amount of diesel being released during the recovery process. This product was captured within the boom.

Nearby First Nations have been notified of the incident through the First Nations Health Authority. B.C. Ministry of Environment and an environmental consultant will work to ensure appropriate measures are taken to clean up the log sort site.

No further updates are anticipated. 

Shuswap sunken tug being raised

(The sunken tug boat is raised with the help of divers and a mobile barge with a crane - May 18, 2017)

Sunken tug in shuswap lake refloated

 (Sunken tug, "Log Master", back on the surface of Shuswap Lake - May 18, 2017)


Sunken tug in Shuswap Lake

         (An aerial photo from an overflight of the incident - May 17, 2017)

Shuswap Sunken tug

   (A view from the dock near the sunken tug on Shuswap Lake - May 17, 2017)


Site Location:

Sunken tug boat in Shuswap Lake


May 17, 2017 - 2:57 pm

An overflight of the incident this morning showed most of the product contained in the boom area. An opening in the boom was identified and corrected. Efforts made by divers to contain the spill have reduced the volume of petroleum product surfacing. The small amount of sheen observed on the surface is contained within the boomed area. An Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) with B.C. Ministry of Environment is on scene to ensure all steps are being taken to minimize the impact from this release.

Interior Health released a public service announcement (PSA) advising residents along the western arm of Shuswap Lake to be cautious and check their water for any signs of diesel fuel. The PSA can be found here

Salvage contractors are being deployed to the site today with plans to raise the vessel tomorrow. A salvage plan has been given to Transport Canada for review. Environment Canada's National Environmental Emergencies Centre (NEEC) has provided trajectory modelling to predict the potential spread of the spill.

Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

May 16, 2017 - 4:40 pm

A Environmental Emergency Response Officer arrived onsite at approximately 3 pm today. 

The incident site is an industrial inland log sort. Boom around the incident site was deemed to be secure upon inspection. The tug is estimated to be 87 ft below the surface. It is resting on a shoal shelf. Efforts are being made to secure the tug from sliding further down the shoal. 

RAM Environmental remains onsite and divers are currently assessing the condition of the tug boat. The tug's vents remain securely plugged. A small amount of fuel was viewed on the surface, but is dissipating. The shoreline adjacent to the incident site was visually assessed and no sheen or pollutants were noted.

B.C. Ministry of Environment and Canadian Coast Guard are coordinating their efforts to best respond to this spill. 

An overflight is planned for tomorrow morning which will allow B.C. Ministry of Environment as well as the responsible party and Columbia Shuswap Regional District to do an aerial inspection of the incident site. 

Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available. 


May 16, 2017 - 1:40 pm

A tug boat, owned by Canoe Forest Products, sunk into the Shuswap Lake yesterday, approximately 10 km east of the community of St. Ives. 

RAM Environmental has been hired by the responsible party, Canoe Forest Products, to help with the spill cleanup. It was initially reported that the tug boat had up to 4000 L of diesel fuel on board, but this is unconfirmed. RAM Environmental reported some diesel escaping from the sunken tug last night. Sorbent boom and pads have been deployed. Inland divers, hired by the responsible party, have plugged the vents that can be reached to reduce product release. 

A conference call between B.C. Ministry of Environment, Canadian Coast Guard, Canoe Forest Products, Interior Health, Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Environment Canada, and Transport Canada was held this morning. 

An overflight of the incident was also conducted this morning. A sheen was noted 2 km west of the incident site, adjacent to the shoreline.

An Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) from B.C. Ministry of Environment has been deployed to the site and a salvage and recovery plan is being put together.

Further updates will be provided as more details become available.