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

/ Kevin Mills Photo
Hundreds participate in solidarity parade for transgender student who was bullied

Cars, horses and even planes passed by the Mission waterfront to show support

Just one of more than 200 cats and kittens who were adopted through the Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven in 2020, despite the pandemic. (Philip Tingey/ Safe Haven)
More than 200 cats and kittens adopted through Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven in 2020

Successful year took place despite of, or perhaps because of, the COVID-19 pandemic

Kent Search and Rescue sent down three rescuers
UPDATE: Two people involved in ATV rollover 100 feet down ravine in Harrison, at least one injured

Incident happened shortly before 5 p.m. on Harrison East Forest Service Road

An amethyst rock was stolen from Swinstones Granite Shop’s showroom in Chilliwack on Yale Rd. West, and they are hoping it will be spotted and returned. They discovered their window smashed and the purple rock stolen on the morning of Jan. 17, 2020. Here a portion of it is pictured to the right. (Submitted image)
Amethyst stolen from Chilliwack stone shop’s showroom

Window smashed at business where purple rock has been on display for nearly 16 years

Alvin (left) and Theodore, seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, are looking for their ‘furever’ home. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Theodore and Alvin at the Chilliwack SPCA

Don’t overlook senior pets when wanting to adopt an animal says Chilliwack SPCA branch manager

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Most Read