The Coast Guard announced today that they have removed the fuel from a shipwreck that had been leaking off the coast of Vancouver Island.
In December 2020, the MV Schiedyk, a 483 ft bulk carrier, was found to be leaking heavy oil. The vessel sank in 1968 after hitting Bligh Island, located in Nootka Sound on the west side of Vancouver Island.
Following initial operations in April to assess the wreck, and continued efforts to clean more than 48,500 kg of oil and oily waste from the area, the Coast Guard now says the Schiedyk has been drained.
An operation to remove the oil, conducted by the US-based Resolve Marine Group, deployed remotely operated vehicles that drilled into the sunken ship’s fuel tanks. A drainage valve and hose were then attached.
Hot water was then pumped into the tanks to liquefy the oil, and the resulting mixture was pumped to the surface. From there, the oil and water were separated. The Coast Guard says this procedure continued until the tanks were flushed, and no more fuel was detected.
60 tonnes of fuel were drained from the shipwreck. The response was jointly managed by the Canadian Coast Guard, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation.
“My sincere thanks to all the partners involved in the response to the MV Schiedyk,” said Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
“This was a challenging operation, given the depth of the vessel and the remote location, but a critical one. Marine pollution is a serious threat to our oceans and the marine life they sustain. The success of this operation is a great relief, and the direct result of the expertise, teamwork and dedication of all involved.”
A small amount of non-recoverable fuel may still be spotted in the area, but experts involved in the operation say this should dissipate.
The area will be continued to be monitored and assessed.