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Diesel spill in English Bay left to dissipate on its own

Last Updated Apr 15, 2016 at 3:37 pm PDT

Slick spotted in English Bay (April 15, 2016) (Source: SKY Helicopters)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Fuel has spilled into English Bay, causing a slick near the mouth of False Creek.

The spill is diesel, according to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Because of the fuel type, it won’t be recovered.

Diesel is much less damaging than the bunker fuel which leaked last year. Crews won’t be working to find out where it came from and say there’s no environmental impact.

Bryce Westlund was flying a tour above the area for SKY Helicopters. “It was… funneling out of False Creek, it looked like. Not sure if it’s from a big tanker or something else, but [it’s] fairly large.”

The Canadian Coast Guard says the slick isn’t large enough to attempt a cleanup.

Dan Bate with the Coast Guard says the slick was reported Friday morning but crew members investigated and determined they wouldn’t be able to recover the thin sheen of fuel from the water.

Bate says diesel fuel evaporates off the water and is broken quickly by sun and wind. He says a small amount of fuel can spread over a large area.

Because the spill was determined to be diesel, he says it’s unlikely to be related to large ships in the harbour.

The Coast Guard crew couldn’t find the origin of the spill, but Bate says it could have been caused in several ways, including someone refuelling a vessel.

slick English Bay
Slick spotted in English Bay (April 15, 2016) (Source: SKY Helicopters)
slick English Bay
Slick spotted in English Bay (April 15, 2016) (Source: SKY Helicopters)

Disturbing sight should serve as a reminder to remain vigilant in protecting waters: environmentalists

Ben West with Tanker Free BC would hope the responsible party could be found, even if the damage in this case is much less.

“Releasing diesel into the inlet is not something that you’d want to see happen on a regular basis. You’d like to think that we’re taking steps to try to disincentivize that — encourage folks to be more cautious.”

He says the photos of the spill are quite shocking.

“As we’re discussing increased oil tanker traffic, as the result of new pipelines, I think this is yet another reminder to folks of exactly the kind of thing we don’t want to see.”

It’s been one year since the MV Marathassa spilled bunker fuel into the Bay and we are still waiting to see an improved oil spill response plan for the region.