Nathan E. Stewart Removed from B.C. Waters Near Bella Bella

A crane barge is used to lift the sunken tug Nathan E. Stewart from Heiltsuk Nation territorial waters near Bella Bella. Photo: Ian McAllister/Pacific Wild
A crane barge is used to lift the sunken tug Nathan E. Stewart from Heiltsuk Nation territorial waters near Bella Bella. Photo: Ian McAllister/Pacific Wild

A giant crane was used to lift the sunken tug Nathan E. Stewart from the sea floor Monday night more than a month after the tug ran aground near Bella Bella in British Columbia.

The Nathan E. Stewart, an American tug owned by Houston-based Kirby Corp., was pushing the petroleum barge DBL 55 when it ran aground at the entrance to Sea Forth Channel on Athlone Island on October 13. Although the barge was empty of cargo, it is estimated that approximately 110,000 liters of marine diesel was released from the tug into the water.

The incident has added fuel the issue of marine safety along B.C.’s western coast as well as highlight the need improvements to oil spill response in the region.

Bella Bella’s local Heiltsuk First Nation has been particularly critical of the governments response throughout the salvage, which was hampered by severe weather since the initial grounding.

Photo: Jess Housty/Twitter
Photo: Jess Housty/Twitter
Photo: Jess Housty/Twitter
Photo: Jess Housty/Twitter