VANCOUVER - British Columbia Premier Christy Clark says a diesel spill in the waters off the Great Bear Rainforest is a prime example of the federal government's inadequate commitment to disaster cleanup on the West Coast.

Clark made the strong statement as clean-up efforts continue along the central coast after a tug pushing a fuel barge ran aground and sank Thursday.

The barge was empty but the tug began leaking fuel, raising concerns among the nearby First Nation that the diesel could contaminate area clam beds and fishing grounds that are of cultural, economic and spiritual significance.

Clark pointed out she's been saying for years that federal spill response infrastructure on the West Coast is inadequate but other governments and businesses continue to push for oil pipeline developments along the coast.

The premier says B.C. needs an increased coast guard presence on the West Coast, which has been cheated for decades by federal governments who have been upgrading spill response equipment on the East Coast.

The coast guard says the 30-metre Nathan E. Stewart, which is registered in the United States, and an empty fuel barge it was pushing ran around early Thursday morning in Seaforth Channel on the central coast.