A fishing boat struck a rock and took on water just off G̱andll K’in G̱waay.yaay / Hotspring Island at around 6 a.m. Monday morning.
After making a distress call, all four local fishermen on board got safely ashore. The Maple Leaf, which happened to be nearby, offered assistance.
“At this point, no pollution has been detected in the water,” said Tyler Peet, resource conservation for Gwaii Haanas, speaking late Monday afternoon.
“We’re very, very grateful for that.”
The Venture H is a 40-foot wood hulled boat, and the crew were just setting out to fish for prawns when they struck the rock.
Peet said that by high tide Monday morning, the boat was almost totally submerged. Still, it has shown no signs of a fuel or oil leak. The boat has about 1,200 litres of diesel fuel aboard.
Gwaii Haanas staff got an emergency call at 6:40 a.m. and dispatched a trained spill-response crew from Queen Charlotte on the Haaja. They arrived after noon, and ringed the submerged boat with spill boom as a precaution.
The Coast Guard ship Tanu arrived a few hours later and set up a second ring of boom.
Peet said the responders are now waiting for the next low tide around 6:45 p.m. so they can better assess the damage to the boat and plan next steps. Depending on the damage, that might include pumping the boat clean of fuel and trying to re-float it.
The fishermen are staying on to assist, and are being helped in turn by the watchmen on Hotspring.
“We’ve been collaborating as always with the Council of the Haida Nation on this, and keeping the AMB [Archipelago Management Board] updated accordingly,” Peet said, adding that the sea conditions have stayed fairly calm throughout.
“I think everything is as under control as it can be.”
Visitors are still welcome to visit Hotspring Island, but are asked to use the east beach for access until further notice. The submerged boat is just off the island’s southwest shore.