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

Recipients of last year’s Winter Games Legacy Grant funds. Bulletin file.
City of Kimberley accepting applications for Winter Games Legacy grants

Grants are available for amateur sports organizations

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick. Bulletin file
No need for travel bans: Kimberley Mayor

While there has been plenty of chatter lately about the possibility of… Continue reading

Author Rosa Jordan
Join Kimberley Library for an author Zoom session

Join the Kimberley Public Library for an evening as the award-winning novelist… Continue reading

Cranbrook Search and Rescue safely and effectively rescued an injured snowmobiler on January 16. Pictured are six members took part in a Avalanche Skills Training Level 1 course, which also took place on the 16th. Members are required to have at minimum AST1 for winter responses. (Facebook/Cranbrook SAR file)
Cranbrook SAR rescues injured snowmobiler from Lumberton area

A helicopter crew assisted in safely and quickly located the injured person

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

Most Read