VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The beach at Fraser River Park in Vancouver has been closed because of last night’s tugboat sinking near Deering Island. Part of a park in Richmond is also off-limits until further notice.
Vancouver Park Board staff say they’re closing the beach as a precaution after detecting a “faint fuel odour and sheen along the shore.”
The beach at Fraser River Park is CLOSED after a tug carrying diesel fuel sank early this morning. We've detected a faint fuel odour and sheen along the shore and are closing the beach as a precaution as @CoastGuardCan continues to assess. @CityofVancouver pic.twitter.com/SICzOrFsj5
— Vancouver Park Board (@ParkBoard) August 14, 2018
What’s being described as contamination has also forced the City of Richmond to temporarily close the off-leash dog area at McDonald Beach Park, but the rest of that park is still open.
McDonald Beach Park off-leash dog area is temporarily closed until further notice due to fuel contamination fr a tug boat sinking. Coast Guard is on scene& assessing the situation. The park itself is not closed. At this time, boats are still allowed in & can launch form this site
— City of Richmond (@Richmond_BC) August 14, 2018
The 20-metre tugboat was towing a loaded gravel barge when it capsized Monday night around 11 p.m. All four crew members are safe because they were rescued by another vessel.
The Coast Guard’s Kiri Westnedge says it’s not clear how much diesel spilled from the George H. Ledcor which could have been carrying up to 22,000 litres.
“We have several Coast Guard vessels are on scene and they’re providing support and that includes a hovercraft with rescue divers and specialists standing by.”
— WCMRC (@MarineResponse) August 14, 2018
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Dan Bate says booms are out and they’re working to collect any diesel that may have spilled.
“[The booms] were deployed at the site and down stream. Coast Guard vessels are on scene providing support,” he tells NEWS 1130. He adds it’s doubtful that a full 22,000 litres of diesel would have spilled.
“That doesn’t mean the tank was full, nor did the tank completely empty when the boat capsized…it’s unlikely that that maximum amount of fuel would have spilled.”
It’s not clear how long it will take salvage crews to remove the tugboat from the river, but Ledcor predicts the boat wont be out of the water until tomorrow, since the recovery mission requires larger equipment to be brought in.
Update: The recovery of the Ledcor Marine tugboat George H Ledcor will now take place on Wednesday. For safety reasons an additional, larger crane and barge will be used to lift the tug. Spill containment equipment and personnel will remain on-site until the lift is completed.
— Ledcor (@LedcorGroup) August 14, 2018
It’s still unclear what caused the boat to tip over.