In the wee hours of October 13th, the Nathan E. Stewart, a tug and US-based diesel barge, ran aground just north of Bella Bella.
While the barge has been secured and towed to safety, the tug sank late Thursday morning. Of the 60,000 gallons of fuel on board, less than 7,000 gallons were pumped before the tug went down. What remains is either in the leaking tug, or already in the water.
Community members have been on scene from dawn to dusk every day to lay boom and assist with cleanup efforts. The lag in early response and difficulties with coordination and weather have created ripple effects resulting in ongoing complications with fuel recovery.
Heiltsuk have been vocal about marine shipping issues and the hazards posed by vessels of this nature. Community members have made it clear that a spill was inevitable – it was only a matter of time.
Tragically, the community has been proven right.
Now we are at the centre of disaster response. We have limited resources to house, feed, and manage the influx of people in our community. We are bridging fuel costs for the dozens of community members who have put themselves and their boats forward to protect and clean their precious waters. Our staff and leadership are working around the clock to ensure we’re doing everything we can in this trying time.
Your contributions will help to ease the immediate financial stress of our day-to-day response efforts. Your thoughts, prayers, and moral support are equally valued and appreciated.