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

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Glenn Moyer is seeking space on a public wharf in Sicamous in order to restart his water taxi business after a year-long shutdown due to COVID-19. (Glenn’s Water Taxi/Facebook)
Water taxi operator requests public dock moorage in Sicamous

Glenn Moyer, a long time water taxi operator, is brimming with stories of life on the lake

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

New signage was installed leading up to the intersection of 10th Avenue SW and Highway 97B in 2019, but concerns have been raised about continuing danger. (File photo)
Improvements urged for Salmon Arm’s Highway 97B/10th Avenue SE intersection

Council may bring up overpass with transportation ministry as crossing under provincial control

Sicamous Council approved a development permit for a new mobile home park on Hillier road on Wednesday, April 14. (Jim Elliot- Eagle Valley News)
Sicamous council approves development of 35 unit mobile home park

The new development will be located on Hillier Road

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Ford F-350s have been targeted in the North Okanagan by auto thieves since February 2021, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP data shows. (Gene J. Puskar - The Canadian Press/AP file)
Auto thieves target older Ford F-350s in Vernon: RCMP

Vernon Mounties remind all motorists no vehicle is immune to auto crime

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP were present at the McDonalds in Armstrong Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Tomer Joury - Facebook)
Police handle ‘high-risk’ situation at Armstrong residence

A woman was apprehended and taken to hospital under the Mental Health Act; no charges laid

Most Read