Heiltsuk in Shock as Critical Barrier Containing Spill Breaks Free

Bella Bella (October 22, 2016) – Heiltsuk Chief Marilyn Slett says her community is in a state of shock today as spilled diesel oil has broken free of barriers to contain it and weather worsens.

“From the air, it looks like the spill is completely free in the water,” says Chief Slett who flew over the area yesterday. “Containment has been Heiltsuk priority from day one. Why weren’t seaworthy booms put in place immediately after the spill?”

Chief Slett says the oil spill response corporation WCMRC now plans to bring in more seaworthy booms. She says it will take at least a day for the new equipment to arrive in Bella Bella and a gale warning is in effect with winds expected to pick up to 35 to 45 knots tonight.

A critical boom broke completely open late yesterday leaving the last remaining barrier containing the spill vulnerable to high winds and swell. For a third day, bad weather has caused small boom maintenance boats to be called back for portions of the day.

Today pictures from Seaforth Channel


For more information contact:

Ayla Brown
Heiltsuk Communications Coordinator