Estimate of bunker fuel spilled in Vancouver bay was ’conservative’: officials

Officials in charge of cleaning up a bunker fuel spill in Vancouver’s English Bay now say the estimate of what leaked from a grain carrier was a conservative figure.

VANCOUVER — Officials in charge of cleaning up a bunker fuel spill in Vancouver’s English Bay now say the estimate of what leaked from a grain carrier was a conservative figure.

Owen Rusticus with Environment Canada says the 2,700-litre spill estimate wasn’t based on gauges, but was gathered using sensors on the thickness of the oil in combination with the size of the spill on the water.

Coast guard commissioner Jody Thomas says 80 per cent of that estimated spill had been cleaned up by the first day and what’s left is “a negligible amount.”

Yvette Myers of Transport Canada says the spill appears to have been caused by mechanical problems with the ship’s pumping system combined with an unrelated issue that sent the fuel into the water instead of being contained in the ship.

Thomas added that cleanup of the spill has cost “a lot of money” and will be the responsibility of the ship’s owners, but she would not provide any estimate on the cost.

The MV Marathassa began spewing bunker fuel off Vancouver’s harbour on Wednesday and soiled several beaches along English Bay and Burrard Inlet.

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