Skip to main content

Oil cleanup complete at historic shipwreck off Vancouver Island

Victoria -

The Canadian government says the removal of oil from a shipwreck off Vancouver Island is complete after oil was spotted leaking from the wreck in December.

On Monday, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said roughly 60 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and diesel had been removed from the MV Schiedyk, which sunk off Bligh Island in 1968.

After oil was seen leaking from the shipwreck in December, federal, provincial and local First Nations began containing the materials.

The U.S.-based Resolve Marine Group was contracted to help remove the fuel in the spring. Much of the oil was coming from the ship's four fuel tanks after the vessel had sunk to a depth of roughly 122 metres.

To remove the fuel, Resolve used drones to drill holes into the fuel tanks, then attached drainage valves and hoses to pump out the oil. Hot water was also injected into the tanks to help liquefy the oil to make it easier to pump, according to the federal government.

The oil and water mix was pumped onto a Canadian-registered ship, the Atlantic Condor, where the oil and water was then separated.

This pumping technique was used until oil was no longer detected in the fuel tanks, according to the federal government.

"My sincere thanks to all the partners involved in the response to the MV Schiedyk," said Jordan in a statement Monday.

"This was a challenging operation, given the depth of the vessel and the remote location, but a critical one," she said. "Marine pollution is a serious threat to our oceans and the marine life they sustain."

In total, roughly 60 tonnes of oil was pumped out of the fuel tanks. Before that, another 48.5 tonnes of oil and oily waste was removed since December, says Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Since the oil was first spotted, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation and other partners have been monitoring for any effects the spill may have on local sea life or coastal environments.

"The success of this operation is a great relief, and the direct result of the expertise, teamwork and dedication of all involved," said Jordan. Top Stories

Stay Connected