Update: Shipowner Will Likely Have To Pay for All Vancouver Bunker Spill Cleanup Costs

Monday April 13, 2015
  • Update: Editing to include new statement on the vessel's insurance

The shipowner of the M/V Marathassa will likely be required to foot the bill for cleaning up a bunker spill that took place last this week in Vancouver's English Bay, Canadian media reports

The bulk carrier was confirmed to be the cause of the fuel leak by the Canadian Coast Guard, who also estimated that 2,700 litres of fuel had been spilled into the harbour. 

According to reports, about 80 percent of the fuel was recovered as of Friday morning. 

Authorities have indicated the ship is likely to be charged under Canada's polluter pays principle, which holds the vessel responsible for all clean-up costs.

"They could be held liable for all of the efforts related to the clean up," said Roger Girouard, an assistant commissioner with the Canadian Coast Guard.

"We're asking folks to keep track of their costs.

"This is a serious event but in the grand scheme, it's not a major spill fortunately."

The report also stated that the M/V Marathassa has been stripped of its insurance, however a statement made to Ship & Bunker from the vessel said this was not the case.

"Managers and owners of the M/V Marathassa emphatically state that the vessel’s insurance is fully compliant with Canadian law and duly in place. The owners have cooperated fully and will meet all their legal obligations arising out of this unfortunate incident," it said.

Despite fuel recovery efforts, the spill has reportedly spread to surrounding areas, with Girouard advising residents to report any oil sightings on beaches. 

"We need to take it slowly and patiently so as not to impact the beach life itself," he said.

"It's an exercise in patience that is frustrating to the people who are watching but it's best in the long run."

The spill occurred on Wednesday, and it has since been revealed that the vessel in question was on its maiden voyage.