Grieg Seafood donates gear to help contain active oil leak in Nootka Sound

Spill response crews using boom on oil spill off Bligh Island in Nootka Sound.

 

To help the Canadian Coast Guard and spill response teams contain oil leaking from the MV Schiedyk shipwreck in Nootka Sound, Grieg Seafood has donated mooring gear to anchor a heavy 10,000-foot-long boom in place.

A concerning oil slick was spotted from the shipwreck earlier this month near Bligh Island. The 150-metre ship sank in 1968 while carrying wood pulp and barley after it hit an underwater ledge. The crew survived but the ship sank with oil on board.

Grieg Seafood, which operates in the area, was contacted on Saturday, Dec. 12 by Diversified Marine (a company contracted to help stem the oil leak) to see if they could assist with containing the active oil leak.

“It was a no brainer to get involved,” said Mike Crivea, Operations Manager for Grieg Seafood BC. “The surrounding environment, ecosystem and communities around Nootka Sound mean a lot to us at Grieg, and if we can be a part of containing the spill, we will.”

Diversified Marine, which also contracts for Grieg, already had mooring equipment onboard their barge from a recent system upgrade to a Grieg site. The rest of Grieg’s gear needed for the spill was being stored nearby at the Gold River dock. Some of the equipment donated were anchor blocks, buoys, rope, chains, shackles and thimbles.

Multiple anchors were dropped at the spill site on Dec. 16, 17 and 21 as the Coast Guard and Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) test how the boom reacts to the mooring placements.

“This boom is very heavy,” Crivea said. “One-hundred feet of it weighs probably around 6,000 lbs, so to secure a 10,000-foot boom in Nootka’s currents and tides takes a lot of planning and heavy-duty mooring equipment.”

“We hope the mooring of the oil boom is a success, so we can get the leak contained as quickly as possible.”

The Coast Guard and WCMRC are working around the clock to contain the spill, which is already impacting wildlife. A heron and sea otter were both found covered in oil and sent to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre to recover.