The Nathan E. Stewart and an empty 10,000-tonne tanker barge ran aground on Edge Reef in the early hours of October 13, 2016. Edge Reef is located just off Athlone Island at the entrance to northern B.C.’s Seaforth Channel in the Heiltsuk Nation’s traditional territorial waters. The grounded vessel leaked more than 100,000 litres of diesel fuel into the surrounding waters.
WCMRC-trained response contractors from Shearwater Marine arrived on-scene that afternoon. WCMRC response vessels arrived on-scene from Prince Rupert that evening. Over the next several days, vessels from WCMRC’s South Coast and Vancouver Island fleets were added to the response. Bad weather prevented the salvage operation until November 14, when the damaged tug was raised from the seafloor. By October 26, the tanks of fuel on the submerged tug had been emptied and 110,131 litres of oily water had been recovered.