Efforts begin to raise sunken tug near Bella Bella

Some progress in work to reposition the Nathan E. Stewart

Work is underway to reposition a submerged tug before lifting it from waters off B.C.’s central coast.

Ayla Brown of the Heiltsuk First Nation says salvage experts used chains attached to anchors to drag the Nathan E. Stewart about 300 metres into deeper waters of Seaforth Channel, west of Bella Bella.

She says dragging began overnight and the tug had been pulled about 25 per cent of the way toward a salvage barge.

Once it is in deeper water, a crane will lift the 30-metre tug onto the salvage barge, but Brown says the operation was delayed due to tides and swells that made dragging unsafe.

It’s hoped work can resume with the changing tide.

The Nathan E. Stewart ran aground on Oct. 13, spilling more than 100,000 litres of diesel and other contaminants.

Since then, federal officials have ordered closure of shellfish beds vital to the economy of the Heiltsuk Nation.

Marilyn Slett, Heiltsuk chief councillor, said she was relieved to see movement of the tug after 29 days aground on the reef.

“The real impacts of this spill on our culturally significant harvesting ground are far from assessed. We continue to remain focused on the impacts of the spill on our community and their well-being,” says Slett.

Photos posted by the First Nation earlier this week show the tug was leaking residual oils, Brown says.

“Those are heavy residual oils that could not be removed in the pumping process because they are trapped between the ceiling and walls,” she says.

Despite slow progress dragging the tug, Brown hopes it will be out of the water soon.

“They can only pull on one of the tides, so they can pull for six hours, wait for six hours, pull for six, wait for six. That sounds like it’s how it’s going to go, as long as the weather co-operates.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

BC Budget’s Top 10 promises the North Coast will care about

BC Ferry fare reductions, Indigenous language investments, rent support for seniors

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Police seek man wanted for assault

Queen Charlotte RCMP are asking for help finding a man wanted for… Continue reading

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Quesnel Soup event to crowdfund community improvement projects

Groups invited to pitch; event attendees will vote to help fund innovative community projects

BCHL Today: Merritt peaking at right time and Taylor signs with UNH Wildcats

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Video: B.C. firefighters featured in quirky video

Oliver Fire Department posts video about their B.C. volunteer firefighter spring training seminar

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals push Canada into third place

A gold in ski cross and a bronze in bobsleigh as men’s hockey advances to the semis

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Canada wins gold in men’s ski cross

Leman earns redemption with ski cross gold; Homan out early

Most Read