The on-site team deploys a boom curtain to contain the oil spill near Nootka Island. (Unified Command)

The on-site team deploys a boom curtain to contain the oil spill near Nootka Island. (Unified Command)

Sea otter, heron treated as team battles active oil slick off Vancouver Island

Animals found covered in oil, response team looking at rehabilitation options

Canadian Coast Guard and First Nations continue to contain the active oil slick caused by the historic Bligh Island shipwreck leak off Northwest Vancouver Island.

In an update, the Unified Command – the spill response team consisting of federal, provincial and First Nations members – said that despite the minimal quantity of oil on the water, there has been some negative impact to the marine environment and wildlife in the area near Nootka Sound.

“Sadly one sea otter and one blue heron have become oiled. Crews are attempting to capture the otter to transport it to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Centre,” the Unified Command said in a statement, Tuesday.

A deceased sea otter was also found in the area and a necropsy is being performed to determine if it died due to oil exposure.

READ MORE: Active marine oil slick near Nootka Sound tied to historic 1968 Bligh Island shipwreck

The team also said there is potential for more wildlife to be impacted due to the slick. It has developed a wildlife response plan to work towards the on-site rehabilitation of animals.

“We have a team of wildlife and marine mammal experts who are focused on keeping wildlife away from the shipwreck site, and capturing and rehabilitating any impacted animals.”

Fish farms located north of the site are not affected, so far, as ocean currents are moving the oil to the south and southeast. In the event the direction changes, the team has said it has an additional 10,000-foot curtain boom that can be deployed to protect the fish farms.

Some shorelines close to the shipwreck were impacted by oil and a shoreline clean-up assessment team is preparing to clean the impacted sites.

On Dec. 11 – after a months-long investigation by the Canadian Coast Guard – an oil spill near the east end of Bligh Island was found to be originating from the cargo ship MV Schiedyk that sunk in 1968, shortly after departing from Gold River.

Since then a 40-person team has been on-site responding to the spill along with six marine pollution response vehicles (with two more expected to arrive soon).

Sixteen thousand feet of boom have been deployed to protect areas of ecological, socio-economic and cultural sensitivity. A continuous and slow discharge of oil pollution is coming from the MV Schiedyk and the team does not anticipate a sudden larger release of fuel.

“Crews and assets are on scene recovering the oil as it floats to the surface using a tandem sweep between two vessels. Curtain boom and sorbent boom is held between the two vessels as they sweep the water. We will also be deploying a Harbour Buster II to capture oil product that is being moved by the ocean current.”

The amount of oil released has yet to be determined as what has been recovered is mixed with salt water making it difficult to estimate.

The cost to remediate the pollution risk caused by MV Schiedyk has also not been determined yet by the Unified Command. It will release further details as they become available.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Environmentvancouverisland

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

A worker is seen throwing a chicken in an undercover video in 2017 filmed by California-based animal rights activists Mercy For Animals.
Fraser Valley chicken abuse trial delayed until February

Originally scheduled for a jury trial, Sofina and Chilliwack company now face judge alone

Desmond Tompkins helped curate and host a youth art show at the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre art show highlights ‘diverse perspectives’

With COVID-19 protocols in place, youth art show underway

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)
There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Most Read