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Capsized tugboat recovered from Fraser River, diesel spill amount still unclear

Last Updated Aug 16, 2018 at 12:29 pm PST

(Courtesy Canadian Coast Guard)

There's still no word on how much diesel leaked out from a tugboat that capsized in the Fraser River on Monday

A tugboat that capsized near Deering Island in the Fraser River on Monday is being moved to a shipyard

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s not as bad as it could have been.

That’s coming from officials now that a tugboat, which capsized Monday night near the mouth of the Fraser River, has been recovered.

“There was no change in the vessel position overnight, and it remained submerged upright between two crane barges on site,” explains Dan Bate with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “A containment boom was deployed and maintained around the vessel to collect any free-floating oil while that was happening.”

The George H. Ledcor was finally lifted out of the water Thursday morning with a crane, but there’s still more work to be done.

“They’re getting ready to take off the water that’s still in the tug — it’s called dewatering — so they will be pumping the water that’s from inside the tug to a special container on a barge,” explains David Hoff with the Ledcor Group which operates the tug. “Once that is complete, then the tugboat will float on its own, but it will still be attached to the equipment and then it will start to take it upstream to a shipyard.”

The submerged Fraser River tugboat, the George H. Ledcor, has been lifted out of the water. (Courtesy @SpillsInfoBC via Twitter)

Initially, it was feared around 24,000 litres of diesel could have leaked out. However, Bate says the actual volume is expected to be much lower.

“They’re looking at quite significantly less than that amount, which is consistent with the overflights that were conducted over the area several times,” he explains. “Won’t have a better sense of that number until the tanks in the vessel are measured, which will allow us to get a better number on the actual volumes leaked.”

The beach at Fraser River Park in Vancouver and the shoreline of Richmond’s McDonald Beach park were both closed because of the tugboat sinking.

The Vancouver Park Board had said it was putting the closure in place as a precaution after detecting a “faint fuel odour and sheen along the shore.”

There’s no word yet on when the closures will be lifted.

It’s also unclear what caused the boat to sink. The Transportation Safety Board has been called in to investigate.

-With files from Kayla Butler