Cargo ship spills toxic oil in Vancouver's English Bay (PHOTOS)

Dec 19 2017, 10:44 pm

UPDATE, April 10, 8:42 a.m.: Transport Canada has confirmed the spill is coming from the Marathassa grain carrier. Crews have also stated that 80 per cent of the fuel has been contained.


Port Metro Vancouver says there was an oil spill in the waters of English Bay on Wednesday.

The Canadian Coast Guard is leading the cleanup operation and has been working with Western Canada Marine Response Corporation to contain and recover the substance since last night.

The City of Vancouver has stated that the substance is bunker fuel used to run a vessel and is toxic. There have been social media reports that some of the oil has reached the beaches and seawall of downtown.

The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation has set up a boom around ship Marathassa in an attempt to contain the spill and police, park rangers and Stanley Park Ecology Society staff are stationed at the beach areas to keep the public away.


According to CKNW, the spill was first spotted late yesterday afternoon at 5 p.m. Aerial photos show a light oily sheen can be seen over a wide area of the bay; the City says the slick currently spans a one kilometre radius.

The spill originated from the grain-carrying cargo ship Marathassa anchored in the middle of Burrard Inlet. Approximately 2,800 litres of oil were released, and as of late Thursday afternoon 1,400 litres have been recovered.

Penny Bellam, City Manager, says any ocean spills are the sole responsibility of the federal government.

We have a very clear role. We have no responsibility. We have no resources for cleanup. That’s their jurisdiction,” Bellam said in a press conference at English Bay at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

The City and Park Board also stressed that very little is known about the spill, but they are working with federal agencies to investigate what happened. The City of Vancouver, Vancouver Police, Vancouver Fire and Transport Canada are also responding to help.

West End NDP MLA Spender Chandra-Herbert says the way the spill was immediately dealt with is a dire reminder that a lot has to be done before the province allows oil tankers in our harbours.

“This shouldn’t have happened. Obviously it has. But I think the federal government and province have a responsibility. The fact that they didn’t tell the city until 12 hours later is a huge failure.”

At roughly 5 p.m. on Wednesday, a sailor reported spotting a slick residue on the water. According to the City of Vancouver, the federal government did not make them aware of the spill until early Thursday morning.

The Marathassa, highlighted in red, is responsible for the oil spill.

Image: Vessel Finder

Image: Vessel Finder




DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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