TSB set to release findings on sunken tugboat off B.C. coast

Transportation Safety Board to release findings on sunken tugboat off B.C. coast

Results are expected today from an investigation into what caused a tugboat to run aground off British Columbia’s coast in October 2016, spilling thousands of litres of fuel into the ocean.

The Transportation Safety Board is set to release a report of its findings on the Nathan E. Stewart, a 30-metre tug that was towing an empty barge when it hit rocks near Bella Bella and partially sank.

About 107,000 litres of diesel and 2,240 litres of lubricants, including gear and hydraulic oils, leaked into the Pacific Ocean.

Related: ‘I fell asleep’ admits second mate in 100,000 litre fuel spill off B.C.’s coast

Related:Prince Rupert WCMRC sends response to Bella Bella fuel spill

Chief Marilyn Slett of the nearby Heiltsuk First Nation has said the fuel spill forced the closure of prime seafood harvesting and fishing areas and has had devastating social, cultural and economic impacts on her people.

Earlier this year, she said her community was still working to recover a $150,000 payment from Houston-based company Kirby Offshore Marine, which owned the boat.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board released a report in November saying the tug’s second mate told investigators he missed a change of course after falling asleep, which the board says is the probable cause of the vessel running aground.

The report says Kirby’s safety management procedures had also been ineffectively implemented, contributing to the sinking.

It says there was a lack of documentation on safety rounds and no evidence that safety management procedures were implemented on board the Nathan E. Stewart.

Related: Renewed calls for tanker ban after large diesel spill near Bella Bella

The Canadian Press

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