Salvage crews have managed to remove just over 10 per cent of the diesel fuel from a tug that sank off the Great Bear Rainforest last week.

A report issued Tuesday morning by the owners of the tug, local First Nation and federal and provincial responders say crews have removed about 23,000 litres of fuel from the Nathan E. Stewart after working for 10 hours.

They are hoping to empty more than 200,000 litres in an operation scheduled to take 40 hours, but the local First Nation says area shellfish beds have already been fouled and the situation is an "environmental disaster.".

The tug owned by Texas-based Kirby Corporation went down last Thursday after running aground while pushing a barge through waters just west of Bella Bella.