Bunker Spill Releases Unknown Amount of Fuel Into Vancouver Waters

Thursday April 9, 2015

A bulk carrier transporting grain is thought to have spilled an unknown amount of bunker fuel into Vancouver's English Bay on Wednesday, Canadian media reports. 

Media speculate that the ship in question is the Cyprus-flagged Marathassa, which is thought to be owned by Greece-based Alassia NewShips Management Inc.

The spill reportedly surrounds the Marathassa, with both the Canadian Coast Guard and the West Coast Marine Response Corporation having been dispatched to clean up the fuel, said Port Metro Vancouver.

Authorities have set up a boom around the ship and deployed skimmers to catch the fuel, while the city of Vancouver has confirmed that the spill is bunker fuel, having cautioned nearby boaters that it is toxic.

"Early in the evening the sheen was quite light and deemed not recoverable. However, as the evening progressed they did begin to find heavier concentrations," said John Parker-Jervis, a representative of the port.

"I don't know if I would characterize it as a big spill but, you know, a significant operation to ensure cleaning it up."

According to separate reports, one tonne of fuel has been recovered as of Thursday morning. 

Last month, the Port of Long Beach also experienced a bunker spill, with 33 U.S. gallons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) having spilled into the water.