On April 20, 2023 a fuel truck, laden with approximately 17,000 liters of marked diesel, fell off the back of a barge in Chancellor Channel, just off the east coast of Vancouver Island. The truck did not reportedly suffer any damage prior to it falling off and no immediate release of product had been observed. The responsible party (RP) first notified the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and then activated WCMRC.
WCMRC dispatched the 27-foot landing craft Cortes Sentinel with three crew, the 26-foot workboat Sentinel 32 with three crew, and two trailers carrying equipment and boom, to a staging area at Kelsey Bay. The CCG acted as the Federal Incident Commander with an on-water vessel and helicopter. Nanwakolas Council member First Nations also responded to the incident with their Ha-ma-yas Guardians.
On April 21, WCMRC crews mobilized and engaged in reconnaissance to identify the truck location, while an underwater remote-operated vehicle (ROV) and divers were mobilized to identify if there was any damage to the truck’s tanks. As surveys were conducted, planning meetings occurred to identify what response would be if the tanks were damaged.
Over the following days WCMRC engaged in protection/strategy deployment alongside the Guardians, using a total of 6,350 feet of boom.
Divers continually surveyed the truck to examine seepage from the truck’s tanks, while preparations were made to bring in equipment to lift and remove the truck from the seabed. On April 28th, the truck was able to be successfully lifted from the seabed onto a barge with the remaining fuel immediately being transferred out of the truck. It was estimated that up to 15 per cent or as much as 2,500 liters of diesel had leaked during the incident.