Officials Investigating Bunker Leak in British Colombia

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Friday August 2, 2013

Canadian officials are investigating a leak in a fuel pipeline at Watson Island, an industrial area located just south of Prince Rupert, British Colombia, local newspaper The Northern View reports.

A Ministry of Environment spokesperson said one to one-and-a-half litres of Bunker C has been leaking into the ocean every day for six days and that the ministry is working to "stabilize, contain and remove the hazard."

Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem said he believed the leak was actually diesel derived from Bunker C.

"They noticed there was a light sheen on the water. They checked, and had a spill of three litres of distillate. They noticed it was actually on the beach," Mussallem said.

"It's just a slight spill ... it was on the beach as opposed to actually all over the water."

Tanner Elton, chief operating officer of the Watson Island Development Corporation (WICD), which is trying to purchase and redevelop Watson Island, said oil and other environmental hazards are widespread at the site.

"It's a lot easier to get chemicals out of the tanks than the ocean," Elton said.

"We're talking several millions to deal with the chemicals in the tanks, and hundreds of millions if they end up in the ocean. Which would also render the site unusable."

Partially filled chemical storage containers, piping, and fuel storage containers have been found on Watson Island, which was the site of a pulp milling operation until 2001, according to the WIDC website.

The organisation intends to remove contaminants and redevelop the site into a bulk shipping terminal with a supporting industrial park.