Response crews to spend holiday at site of historic cargo ship fuel leak

ship

BLIGH ISLAND — The Canadian Coast Guard says fuel leaking from a historic shipwreck in a popular marine park off the coast of Vancouver Island has been confirmed on shore and oiled at least two animals.

Kiri Westnedge, information officer for the Bligh Island shipwreck, says in a statement that the amount of oil product on the water is between 30 and 50 litres at any given time.

The MV Schiedyk left Gold River, B.C., with a load of wood pulp and barley on its way to Oregon on Jan. 3, 1968, and hours later hit a ledge off Bligh Island in Nootka Sound.

The coast guard has said a fuel-like sheen discovered in September but its source was only discovered after an investigation.

Westnedge says one sea otter and one blue heron have become oiled and a necropsy is being performed on another dead otter to determine if its death is linked to the spill.

Westnedge says almost 5,000 metres of boom has been set out to protect sensitive areas and crews will continue responding to the leak over the holiday season.

No oil product has been observed near fish farms in the area and so far ocean currents are pushing the product in the opposite direction, Westnedge says.

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