Windago (2014)

LOCATION: Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver

Case number: 120-659

On June 11, 2014, the sailing vessel Windago dragged anchor and grounded on Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia. There was oil leaking from the vessel and there was a significant risk of further pollution, given that the vessel had 400 plus litres of diesel, as well as various lube oils on board. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) responded and, through communication with the City of Vancouver, learned that the owner had advised the City that he was unable to salvage the vessel or mitigate the threat of additional pollution damage. This information was later confirmed when Coast Guard responders spoke with the owner directly about his responsibility and liabilities.

The Kitsilano Beach is Vancouver’s busiest beach and because of the oil spill and its inherent health concerns, the Vancouver Health Authority found it necessary to close the beach.

During the initial response, Coast Guard personnel boarded the grounded sailing vessel and found a thick layer of oil in the bilges. Sea water was entering through a large hole in the hull. The Windago was resting on various sized beach boulders that penetrated the hull. As a result of the findings, Coast Guard hired Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) to deploy a containment boom around the vessel. In parallel to WCMRC’s efforts, Coast Guard personnel commenced removing the oil remaining on board with suction and transfer pumps. Coast Guard rushed to remove as much oil as possible before the rising tide.

In order to prevent further pollution damage with the change of tide, Coast Guard engaged Vancouver Pile and Dredge to remove the wrecked sailing vessel. Later that night, the vessel was deconstructed and removed in sections. Unfortunately, a significant amount of oil floated away from the wreckage and lined the immediate beach area – covering a strip of approximately 1 metre in width by 100 metres in length. To mitigate this pollution on the beach, a small crew from Coast Guard and Vancouver Pile and Dredge met early in the morning the next day and manually removed the oily waste.

On February 17, 2016, the Administrator received a claim from Coast Guard, on behalf of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, for costs and expenses in the amount of $41,506.93, pursuant to the Marine Liability Act.

After investigation and assessment of the claim, on June 1, 2016 the Administrator made an offer to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the established amount of $41,506.93 plus interest. The offer was accepted and a payment of $44,035.16 was made.

In November, 2016, the Administrator engaged a locator service to complete a locate and asset search on the vessel owner. No assets were identified. Two demand letters were sent to the two addresses identified for the vessel owner. No response was received. In the interim the file remains open.